Chat with homeless people on the streets of France

  Since I lived in Roubaix half a year ago, I can always see a homeless man on the street. He sits at the traffic light pole in the middle of the road all the year round. No matter how windy or rainy it is, no matter how cold the weather is, he moved a small bench and sat there early in the morning, and didn’t leave until it was dark.
  He is different from those homeless people who are looking for money everywhere. Even if he walks by him, he doesn’t look up at you. He sits like a statue in the middle of the road.
  I’ve always been curious about him and wondered what the hell he was doing here.
  Antoine said, “Guess why he always sits in the middle of the road? Because he doesn’t have a home. He has nowhere else to go.” Thinking about it, he made a lot of sense, so I stopped caring about it. The homeless sitting on the road every day.
  Later, by accident, we and a local NGO in Lille wanted to hold an event together because of the epidemic, so they proposed to let us participate in another event of theirs, called Maraude.
  Simply put, once a week, go to every corner of the city at night to find homeless people and give them some help.
  Different organisations have different tendencies to assist, with some focusing on providing food to the homeless, clothing in winter, or water in summer.
  And the organization we work with, they provide companionship.
  All we have to do is find the homeless, sit and chat with them, and listen to them. Don’t ask them about their origins, don’t deliberately encourage them, don’t try to redeem them, don’t look at them with sympathy.
  Even if they ask us for money or supplies, we are unable to provide them. All we have to do is talk to them as normal as if we met an ordinary person on the street and see how they are doing today.
  Usually, we will bring some small cakes made by ourselves or put a pot of hot soup in a kettle, but that’s about it.
  On the edge of Lille Flandre station, we met a man who was somewhat insane, and he asked us to help him call the government and have him come to pick him up. While waiting, he asked if we could stay with him until the car came to pick him up and then we left.
  His eyes were red and his hands were shaking while he was eating, apparently numb from the cold.
  During the 20 minutes he waited with him, he repeatedly showed us the new shoes on his feet, and took the initiative to tell us: “This is really given to me, not stolen by me.
  ” Passersby shouted that their shoes were also good looking.
  I don’t know if they heard clearly because they all walked around him.
  He told us again that he had just been robbed of more than 200 euros before he saw us. But we suspect that he is bragging, because if he had more than two hundred euros, he would not have to endure the cold at night and live on the streets.
  In France, the day-to-day life of homeless people is to ask for money and food during the day and sleep in shelters at night, which generally cost money.
  I heard before that Lille’s shelter charges 1 Euro a night, but you have to bring your own quilt and give priority to the family, so even if you have money, you can’t find a place to stay there if you go late.
  Other shelters are more expensive, so they have to beg hard during the day to avoid sleeping on the streets at night.
  In the winter in northern France, the coldest night is below zero, and the cold and cold moisture is the most annoying. The moon under the fog is blue and cloudy, like crab shells in the lake.
  To them, time is just a seesaw on which the sun and the moon ride together, repeating this cycle every day.
  The rescue manual says that they can dial 15 to call the government rescue agency, and we also saw rescue agency cars cruising the road when we walked around at night. But where do the real homeless have mobile phones? Where do they go to charge? How do they get the call bill?
  When we were with the homeless at the station waiting for the rescue car, he said he was cold and asked if we could give him a coat, Antoine took off his coat and lent him to wear it.
  But after a while, he decided not to wait for the rescue car anymore. He said that he was too cold and had to enter the station to escape the cold. Walking into the station, he said to Antoine, “You have a home to go back to, or give me your coat.”
  Antoine hesitated, and the Kealig who was leading us immediately came out and said, “No, bring your clothes back, we We couldn’t follow him into the station either, and if he didn’t want to wait for an ambulance, we had to leave.
  We can’t follow them, because it’s too unsafe, and our help can only stay on the street, because it affects others indoors.
  He said that help for the homeless is inexhaustible. If you want to help them for a long time, you can only restrain yourself and try your best to help them. There is no need to feel powerless in front of them, because since we have stood in front of them and given them even a little attention and encouragement, it is a help to them.
  If you see a person, you have to shed tears and do everything to help him, you will only make yourself very tired.
  And, as the saying goes before a plane takes off, put your own oxygen mask on before helping someone else put it on. Goodwill should be limited, angular, and based on maintaining oneself.
  I think these organizations have been operating in France for decades. If they insist on restrained aid, there must be a reason, and they must have suffered a loss.
  You may be wondering, where is the government? Although the government has a lot of subsidies or aids, they are either not timely enough or a drop in the bucket.
  Moreover, compared with the active assistance of civil organizations, the assistance of the government is passive, and they need to have a certain ability of action to come to the door, and they have to endure a long wait.
  The French government is a bit funny. On the one hand, no matter what country you are, as long as you are a student, no matter what your family situation is, you get about one-third of the monthly rent subsidy, but on the other hand, there are more than 300,000 people in France. The homeless, who in France have an average life expectancy of 82 years, have an average life expectancy of only 49 years.
  I once stood in line at the door of the agency that applied for the subsidy to see what materials I still lacked for my housing subsidy. I saw a woman at the door yelling inside. She said that her relief fund had not been paid for five months. Every time she came, the staff asked her to go back and wait. She said that if she went back If I can’t get the money, I will be swept out by the landlord next month.
  Gao Gao stopped her doorman going back and forth with only one sentence. Make an appointment and come back. The name is not on the appointment list, and the police can’t come in even if you call.

  She didn’t care, it was just those few words back and forth, saying that she didn’t know what to do, and she blamed them for being too slow and coaxing people to wait hopelessly.
  At the time I thought the woman’s gaffe was a little scary, and I didn’t understand how a simple appointment could make her so devastated.
  Later, after being exposed to the French administrative system for a long time, I could understand her with vertigo and nausea that was difficult to eliminate.
  The subsidy website will be reformed for a while, but I can’t log in for a few weeks. After I can log in, it gets stuck every now and then. Afterwards, they talk nonsense with a good attitude and ask you to go back and wait patiently, but after a few weeks, you look online and they have silently closed your application.
  If you want to reopen, please make an appointment. After the appointment, please send a letter. Note that it is not an email, it is a letter. In this old developed country, many important things need to be done by letter.
  Wait until it’s over, wait it out.
  Before, I thought that the housing subsidy I hadn’t received for half a year would still cause my blood pressure to soar. Now I’m like a rotten apple in a fruit basket given away during the Spring Festival.
  Give up, it doesn’t matter, I feel happy.
  Some people were placed on the streets by fate.
  We met a small woman on a remote street, her voice was also thin, and there was a large bag beside her, which was her moving castle. She also has a small yellow dog.
  And she actually has a boyfriend who is not far from her, squatting in the shadow of a bakery.
  She said she had a great spot at the train station, but someone snatched it and threatened her with a knife not to get anywhere near the train station.
  Because there is a lot of traffic there, it is natural to ask for more money.
  She said that on the street, no one gave her more pity because she was a woman, only more malice. Since then, she has decided to find herself a boyfriend and a dog.
  Kealig mentioned that not long ago, a man who had been begging for money at the church for a long time was killed one night, but what happened exactly, no one knows.
  She said that even if she found a boyfriend, it would not help much. Only families with children can get priority assistance from the government. However, even so, there are still more than 30,000 homeless minors on the streets of France. .
  The people who run amok on the street are the men who walk together. Her boyfriend looked quite old, with a shaggy beard and a few leftover baguettes beside him.
  I said to Antoine, the woman looked quite young, much younger than her boyfriend. He didn’t think so, he said she looked at least in her thirties.   I said, “But her
  voice sounded young and small.”
  Antoine said, “You mean she’s tired and cold?”
A lot of company, but not much protection, and people with pets are not allowed to enter the government-run shelter.
  However, there are many homeless people on the streets of France with pets, and there is a person on the edge of the train station who always carries a rabbit.
  They are willing to feed these animals when they can’t get enough to eat themselves, and in addition to the need for companionship, these animals are also protecting them.
  In France, if the police or various agencies want to clear the homeless from the streets and forcibly shelter them, they must house their animals, which is troublesome and expensive, so generally the police do not look for those to take them with them. Trouble with animals.
  Before saying goodbye to the little-voiced woman, Kealig pulled out a card they had made with some elementary schools for the homeless for Christmas and New Years.
  It was a letter written by a fifth-grade child, she said: “I hope you are not too lonely, I hope I can bring you some company. I like dancing, I don’t like being bullied, how about you? I am the most sincere My whole heart blesses you. Good luck.”
  But they were all lonely, and so were we.
  But I think this is probably the meaning of the existence of this somewhat tasteless Maraude who can only provide company.
  Accompanying them is like a heavy rain across the oil-paper umbrella. Even if the raindrops can’t hit them, they can still feel the tremors of the raindrops hitting the oil-paper umbrella.
  I wonder if this fifth-grade girl named Lily will want to ask her head teacher where to find the beautiful world she once described.

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