When we are feeling down and sorry, we ought to put things in their proper perspective. The Weekly Photo Challenge is Home. To see more, follow this link.
Yesterday I was reading in Yahoo News about the prevalence of cage houses in Hong Kong where many people in a very rich island lives in poverty. Many of them are old people who lives in a wire cage with a space enough only for their body to stretch in when they sleep. They look like chicken cages actually and they pay rent to have that space in a building. Am sure they share common kitchen and toilet with how many more people like them. Most of them have been waiting for years for public housing, some are families with small children.
When my mother and I went to Paris we met a couple of Filipino women. They told us their stories. One of them invited us to their apartment. Her place was in a nice apartment building close to the Eiffel Tower but once she opened the door I felt like living in shoebox. I was appalled then. Her room only has a space for a twin bed pushed to the wall, a foot of walking space to go from the door to the other end and all her things were stacked to the ceiling. There was no space for a chair, we sat on the bed while she and her friend were on the floor. There was no place for a burner to even warm water for coffee; she bought her food at the Vietnamese store where they weigh the dish you want and it comes with rice. That’s where we met them. The bathroom was shared with the other tenants on the floor. For her that was her home. She seemed proud and happy that no matter how small it was, she has her own space and privacy. She lived by herself and she did not have to abide by someone’s rule. The sacrifice one has to make so she could provide a better future for her family back in the Philippines.
When they asked, I told her how their successful compatriots live in the States. Space is no problem for many of them. Our walk-in closets are twice or thrice as big as her “home”. I’ve walked in homes here where it is too big the house feels empty. One owner even admitted that when she gets home she imagines all sort of sinister things when she hears noises or even just the slightest sound. Furnace humming, doors slamming, refrigerator motors running, homes here make plenty of noises. Too many empty rooms. Isn’t that sad?
I want a home that is no matter how small is filled with happy chatter, loud laughter, shrieks of delight and joy that you don’t hear the creak of the floor or the on and off buzz of the air conditioner.
In New York, the most coveted address are the ones that faces Central Park. They are the richest of the rich. They live in historic old buildings where several men stand guard of their homes they could well afford to live their doors unlocked all day.
And look at this homeless person in Central Park. In all my more than 30 years here in Chicago, I haven’t seen a scene like this. It was a very cold morning then and I was busy taking pictures. I loved that the park was empty except there was this man and his belongings marring the view of what could have been a postcard pretty picture of the day.
His home and whatever worldly possessions he has is all in that one supermarket cart. When you come to think of it, a place to lie and a blanket to keep us warm are all we need, a roof over our head to shun the rain and snow. A family or the company of friends to make our days happy.