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The homeless are still human
Posted May 1, 2009

Everyone in this day and age is consumed with completing their daily routine.

Driving to Starbuck’s and getting their usual, heading on the same way to work or school, walking the same path every day and never noticing what is around them.

This weekend I took a moment to look and listen to whom and what was around me and it opened my eyes.

It began when I went to Starbuck’s to get a coffee while I waited for my brother to finish an audition.

I walked into the door and noticed a man at one of the tables playing with some plant and it looked as if his belongings were scattered.

I pegged him as homeless or just an interesting Starbuck’s frequenter. I have noticed coffee shops tend to attract both.

One of my friends met up with me and we decided to sit outside since the weather was nice and I needed to catch up on some vitamin D.

Five minutes into our conversation and the man from earlier comes out and without hesitation pulls up a chair and begins talking.

His topics were kinetic energy, palm reading, being a famous tailor, a taoist priest and a 41 year martial artist.

Now he really could have been all these things and lost his job or maybe it was the cocaine root he said he smoked to heighten his tai chi that was bringing out these titles.

All I know is he was sharing and looking for a response.

Most people would have ignored this man from the get go or made some excuse to leave as soon as he sat, but something in me could not desert him.

I spent an hour and a half talking with this man named Maleaka and by and by he slowly began to open up, no longer hiding in defense behind his “accomplishments” he was simply homeless and alone.

He described the family he was raised in, how he endured abuse and how it has hindered him in life.

His passion for the arts and religion he spoke of would make a person wonder why he was living on the streets and not working in a museum.

It killed me to know although he was brilliant he must suffer from repressed memory and therefore has been held back in his journey to his own utopia.

Because I took time to talk and build a bond with him, he allowed me to be a bit of light in his dark world.

We walk over and around these people every day refusing to look at them in fear; that they will ask for money, they could be deranged and attack or we feel guilty and if we do not see them they must not exist.

Well the truth is they all exist and they are people like you and me, breathing, thinking, walking human beings.

I have changed over the years to see life through the days I live, enjoy the ever changing earth and looking and conversing with the people in it.

A Chinese proverb said “A single conversation with a wise man is better than 10 years of study.”

I think everyone can give knowledge to anyone who is willing to listen and all we have to do is take the time to see the Maleaka’s in our day.

Are you willing to set aside your prejudices and see what life is trying to teach you?

Samantha Sincock, a sophomore journalism major, is Web editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at samantha.sincock@laverne.edu.