I have been to this shelter with Jengish. Maybe that's why for me, this is just not the solution. For many here, homelessness is not a choice.. most of the time it is not because of their own doing that they find themselves on the street. I have talked to many of the homeless as we are helping them, and I have heard their stories..
One man shared with us how he was one of many that escape from slavery in Kazakhstan and managed to make his way back to his own country to safety ,only to be homeless and not able to work because his documents had been destroyed...
One old lady told us how her son had gone to Russia looking for work, and after a short time stopped sending support for her, and she lost her home, and because she has living relatives, she can not go to a seniors home.
Another storey we heard is of a lady that came to Bishkek, simply for a visit from a neighboring country, while here she was beat up and robed, and all her money and documents were stolen... she was left with nothing, and can not leave the country.
The stories go on and on, as many homeless as there are, there is a new storey of how it came to be. Maybe hearing some of these stories, and holding the hands of the storey teller as they share their grief, I have become a little soft. For those of us here on the ground, having a place like the seniors home in Kemin is crucial. Jengish, Laurisa, Sergey and Anya... we have all experienced finding a sick and dying homeless person, and not been able to do anything about it, and we have all experienced finding a similar case, and been able to take them to Kemin where they will be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve, and been cared for in a kind loving fasion.... a hole lot better then opening an old abandoned building and giving out the odd bowl of hot soup when a reporter is there to snap a photo...
Last night with the prospects of closing to new emergency cases, we shared the storey, and went to bed with very heavy hearts. When I opened the mail this morning , I found that the first of 15 beds had been sponsored by someone 11 000 km away. Some one who understands the need to have beds available going into a long cold winter in the mountains. We have homeless seniors on a waiting list to see that could come today if we knew that we could increase capacity, we still need $1400 to keep the wing open this winter. to be sure to get the work done in time, we would like to start on Friday. Is a this a dream or a fantasy ?