A Homeless S. Korea…

7/15/13: Monday’s Thought

I have not wanted to talk about this too much, but there is an issue here. A very sad and noticeable issue. I can’t stand that when I asked a friend about homeless people I was told that S.Korea doesn’t have very many. The second day I was here I saw homeless people asleep by a major area of the city (it’s in my pictures). I was shocked that it was much like what I have seen in people’s New York pictures. My expectations for S. Korea being a country that had a very low homeless population severely declined after that day. No, I did not go out to seek the homeless in S. Korea, but I feel like there are so many. Maybe not all of the people are homeless, but they definitely have some major financial burdens to ask for money.

Here are just a few of the images that remain with me:

1: A man who had to be in his 60’s down in the subway terminal with one leg and a crutch lying next to him. He has a cardboard box and is thanking everyone as they walk by and bestowing a “God Bless You” as well. He is in very dirty clothes, and smells of something undesirable, but smiles like he has a mound of gold. 

2. An elderly woman sitting on the steps halfway to the top of the subway shaking her box. She is saying something in Korean and you look at her face…she looks like she is half to tears and very desperate about that box. She is gripping it tightly, but as money is put in the box a sign of relief is heard and she thanks you until you can’t hear it anymore.

3. The most difficult image for me: I was in either Namdaemun or Dongdaemun market. There was a man, maybe late 60’s there that day. I heard a strange sound and I was really confused. It was music from a little box and I heard the sound of coin movement. I didn’t at first even notice the man until the noise got louder and I noticed a person walk up to him. This poor soul was on the ground with some type of rolling device underneath him. He had another rolling thing in front of him as he pushed that, he used his one leg to help him inch down the streets of this marketplace. I looked at this mans face. It was a face of someone who had worked hard there whole life and was now at a desperate point. I thought about many reasons why this man was out there doing that, but it didn’t matter to me. I wanted to help him. I would have put all my money in that box if I knew that it could help him have a better life, but of course I knew with him being out there that the money I had would not suffice. I put some money in that box and walked away wishing for a better world. 

Almost everyday that I have left the school I have seen a homeless person. It really touches home because there was a time when my family had to be out on the side of the road asking for help. We were fortunate to get the help we needed in that time and were able to get back on our feet. I have always been grateful for the life I live and for those people who helped me along the way. I will continue to give to those who are less fortunate when I can. 

I wrote a song called “Dead End” several years back…I wish I had my guitar because I would post it here. It is a song about being homeless here is the chorus: Lying on the street, was not what we had in mind. Dying from hunger, holding a sign. Clinging to trash, to try and stay warm. Homeless and helpless, we don’t deserve. 
This is the bridge: Money in cans. Food in those pantries. I’m lying on the pavement, these two I can’t reach. Dead beat, no hope. Dead end. No joke. Back to sleep, to just repeat this endless cycle.

Tips:

“Let your conscience be your guide.” -Jimnny Cricket

This means to always to what’s right and never do wrong. I believe we humans have a desire to always do good, so please let your heart/conscience steer you to do the right things as you go about your travels. If you feel that something seems questionable then don’t do it. Your mind, heart, and body can tell that something is wrong way before you actually realize that it is not good.

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