Homelessness is a complex problem facing people all over the world. I try to understand a little more about individual cases of homelessness by sharing conversations from time to time with folk I come across on the street. The gentleman featured is an ‘indigente’ that I met on the streets of the historic centre of Mexico City whilst working on my blog project Mexico City Metro Project.
I wrote the sketch below in my early days in Mexico City. Observing the group of homeless men from a distance of perhaps 20 metres I was taken by their sense of cohesion and camaraderie despite their situation. I do not intend for the word ‘bum’ to carry negative connotations.
I’d been roaming around the Roma and Condesa districts of the megalopolis that is Mexico City for a good while and needed some time to just sit and rest so when I came across the leafy ‘Parque Mexico’ I went straight in there and found a covered park bench with a crumpled old blanket and flattened cardboard boxes up one end.
I sat up the other end and took off my shoes and socks and stretched out my legs a bit, it was lovely to have some fresh air flow between my toes.
Not far off were a group of bums. I guess I was probably sitting on the bench of one of them.
In fact, they were evangelical bums. I sat and watched them as they huddled around in the not long after noon warming sun, praising, extoling the virtues of the Lord; arms outstretched and pointed to the heavens or else kneeling and bowing their heads in reverence.
There were old bums and young bums, crutches procured from somewhere and scabby legs and hungry faces but the happy thing was that they had found a solidarity – a shared belonging in Bumdom and the Lord.