There is a man, literally dying on the corner of a street beside a building owned by one of Indonesia’s richest companies. He is driven past by hundreds and hundreds of people every day in their cars. He has lain there for maybe 4 or 5 days now, sometimes naked, sometimes with dirty clothes on. He is clearly sick. Why is nobody helping him? How can we as humans, drive past somebody in such pain without stopping to help … I don’t understand. It’s one of the saddest and most emotional things I have ever been involved with.
Last night, I told myself I had to stop this morning and do something to help him after seeing him still lying on the curb after returning from our trip to Krakatoa. I had to give him some food … some water, something. I searched the cupboard at Lindsay’s house this morning and felt useless as I could only come up with 2 bananas, a cookie and some water. This could never be enough for this poor man. We drove there and I got out the car to give him the few items I had. There were flies buzzing all around. The flies were literally feeding on this poor man. He was lying down on the grass beside the road, weak and helpless. As I crouched down near him, he struggled to raise himself to see me. He must have been starving for he took a banana and began to eat it immediately. I asked him his name and told him mine. His name is Andrea. I asked him if he was sick and he nodded. With no more to give him or help him, I headed back to the car where I couldn’t stop tears flooding down my cheeks. This is a sad, sad, awful thing. How dreadful for this man. To feel so lost and without friends or family in such a big world. How lonely, how sad.
Having cried for some time for this poor man, I asked Linz if we could take him to the hospital. We stopped by the hospital to find it was closed other than for inpatients because it’s a public holiday. We will try to take him tomorrow if we can, if he will let us. I phoned Mel, a friend to ask if she knew any kind of social aid/ welfare in Indonesia we could find for him. Told myself I must buy him some more food. I bought him fruit, drinks, baby wipes to clean his infected wounds, a toothbrush and toothpaste. I stopped by my house to find him some t-shirts which I never wear, a pair of shorts I rarely wear and made him a hot cup of tea. As we drove to his spot, he was sat staring at the curb. He looked up as the car pulled up. I walked over, said hello and showed him the things I had brought him. He was ecstatic to find I had brought him cigarettes and immediately looked for somewhere to hide them. Linz told me people will probably try to steal the very few things he has. How despicable. A man who has so little being robbed by people who care for nothing. Andrea was over the moon with his new shorts and put them on immediately. He didn’t have anything other to wear than a dirty old dress I assume he found somewhere. He pulled on the socks. I hope he is warmer tonight. He began to devour the oranges. He cleaned his face with a wipe and tried to hide the toothpaste and toothbrush amongst his few clothes. He shook my hand and thanked me. I said goodbye to him for today.
If he felt a little love from somebody today in this world when thousands drive past in silence, I can sleep a little easier. If he felt like somebody cares when so many ignore his plight, I hope he can feel a little hope himself. I am not religious but I will pray to God tonight that he will look after Andrea, help him in his desperately sad situation. I hope we can help find him somewhere to sleep, a safe shelter tomorrow when the social welfare offices open.
We are all people, everywhere. We are all one people, just on different journeys. I only hope Andrea’s journey gets easier for him. Please, if you see somebody who needs help, don’t just walk by. Take action. Life puts people in difficult situations at times, but if nobody even stops to think how they could help, how can things improve? It’s a sad day to realise most people don’t care and won’t take action. Please please hear what I have said and try to help others yourself. If you can help one more person …
This website shows how some people in our world live. Read this in your warm home and remember just how lucky you are … http://www.theplaceswelive.com/
This reminds me of this story, The Starfish story – wise words indeed.
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”