I met Mohamed about three months ago. I have seen Mohamed quite a bit previous to introducing myself to him. A teammate and I were out looking to provide food, clothing or anything else that we could to the homeless. As I introduced my teammate and myself, I could tell by the expression on Mohamed’s face that he was surprised that we were approaching him. I started by letting him know that I had seen him before. He was surprised and smiled when I told him that. As we started telling him about our daily life, we could see Mohamed opening himself to tell us his story. Before we left we asked him if we could provide him with any food. His only request was for a bottle of water.
Mohamed is from Canada and he has been on the streets for 11 years. He started living on the streets due to his divorce, mental illness, and losing his identity papers. He carries buckets of trash and other things with him at all times. I asked him why he carried all those things. He replied,”it’s an illness of mine and they mean something to me.” To you and I it could be trash, but to Mohamed they meant something special.
I asked Mohamed what would he name his story and he said “DESTINY” because he believes that it is his destiny to be living in the streets… but is it? I’ve been visiting Mohamed once a week since the first time I met him. Every time I go to see him I ask him what can Ava Said provide for you and he’s never asked for anything from me since that bottle of water. So I asked him,” why is it that you never let me provide food, clothing or anything to you?” He answered, “I don’t need anything and you’re already doing a lot by coming to visit me. I thank you for coming to talk to me.” Whenever I visit him he asks me what I’m doing and I tell him I’m coming to check up on him to see if he needs anything. He asks the same question and I give the same answer… and he smiles every time. He enjoys knowing that someone cares to go and check up on him.
Mohamed has made me realize that it’s not about the things we provide but about the willing and caring attitude of someone that gives a person hope and a little light in their life. I have learned a lot from Mohamed and his life experiences. As I talk to him I can see how much he would like to live in a world like the rest of us, but he feels that his mental illness won’t give him that opportunity. As Ava Said, “there are stories that need to be heard” and Mohamed’s is definitely one of those. Remember to always be kind to others. We all have a story to tell.