Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 1 for Lauren

Alright, so it's the first day on the trip. We've successfully made it from Minneapolis to Chicago to our final destination D.C., where we will be for the remainder of the trip. We've experienced the littlest plane in the world, an hour delayed flight, which was actually a plus because we were able to meet this woman who was quite a character! She went to college at 16, married at 18, had her own business by 30 while getting her bachelors degree, and having 5 kids in 8 years. Her business is in the health care field and is a hospice/home care place. She now has over 150 employees, is spread through 8 counties in Illinois and sees around 200 patients a day. One thing that struck me is her personal experience with homeless. She said she volunteered at a shelter once and met someone whose toenails had grown so long that they had grown to curve down under her feet and they were now growing into her skin. Toenails and finger nails are things that I never would have thought of to take care when homeless, that's one of the last things I would have thought of. It's great that even just on our way to our destination to learn about and experience homelessness, people are able to share their own personal experiences they've had.

So we got to D.C., immediately listened to a panel of a couple people who have experienced being homeless themselves, which they also had incredible stories; one of the men had been living on the streets for three years as a result of drugs and alcohol (the "stereotypical" homeless person). The other, had been homeless for three months after going through a divorce from a marriage of 20 years. He had spiraled into a huge depression, losing his job, his home, his car, everything. They were both great stories to hear, and had great insight they shared with us about the homeless challenge we're starting in the morning. Next was grocery shopping, dinner, and free time. We've spent a lot of time today prepping and talking about our challenge for the next two days. We were told we couldn't shower Saturday (today) or wash our faces tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes.

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