Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Eat. Spit. Be Happy...

sunflower seeds packet
Eat. Spit. Be Happy. - Eeeew!

At least, that's according to the slogan on this packet of Nacho Cheese sunflower seeds. Disgusting!!! In China, people are being encouraged not to spit, and here people are being encouraged! Both of us found this distinctly unhygienic.

But the reason I have them is that they arrived as part of lunch when I was volunteering at a homeless convention in San Jose the other day. This was a large convention center set up with free healthcare, dental services, child-minding for the day, food bags, free clothing, shoes, free healthcare to preschoolers (the stand I was on), Help Centers, Social Security and other social services. They also gave out lunch to everyone.

Most surprising for me was that many of the clients didn't look stereotypically 'homeless'. Their clothes were casual, but nothing out of the ordinary. Most carried one small bag. If you saw them on the street, you'd never know their secret.

The atmosphere created was that the large number of volunteers and organizers really wanted to help those who were homeless, and went out of their way to do so. I was touched. Organizers used the word "clients" which I felt conveyed a sense of importance - for one day, people at the bottom of society here were treated with respect and dignity.

Now... to eat, spit and be happy...

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