PRIVILEGE is having a choice of roof over your head.
But we don’t often realize this.
Some years ago, I opted to join hands and raise funds for the former #ywca Calgary (now called YW Calgary) fundraiser event called #keeparoof
It was my choice. I thought I’d experience homelessness for a night and influence the public to commit some money towards the initiative.
As per funding, I surpassed my target donation amount, thanks to the public who looked to me and trusted me.
As per homelessness, it was an experience but definitely not the real thing.
I realized that choosing to experience homelessness for a night is not the same as being forced to be homeless.
In one, you are likely in dark places mentally and would rather not be in a shelter.
In the other, you are making a happy choice – for whatever reason.
In my case, I wanted to experience homelessness through the eyes of a homeless woman.
Checking into the homeless shelter for the night and amongst other questions, the officer asked me, “where did you sleep last night?”
I gave her that look of where else? “Home of course!” I said!
The officer looked at me, smiled and said “Okay!”
“PRIVILEGE is having a choice of roof over your head.”– Dapo Bankole
I instantly knew why. It was a quiet message that she passed to me.
How we forget that having a roof over our heads is a privilege that we need to be grateful for.
I learned quite a few lessons through the experience, but my topmost ones are:
- Homelessness does not look like what we imagine. I discovered people who wore suits and ties, people who wore skirt suits and did corporate jobs and yet we’re homeless.
- No matter the negative thing that happens to you in life…including but not limited to homelessness, you’re still a human being and you deserve love.
- No one plans to be homeless. No one chooses to be homeless.
- We need to understand and not judge. Homelessness is not a choice.
- Men are victims of domestic violence too. Men with infants end up on the streets. That was a rude awakening.
- Homelessness does start with a heated argument, but it easily snowballs into domestic violence and voilà, homelessness is born.
Above all, everything you have and experience in life is a gift. Treasure it.
If we can pause and reflect, we will have reasons to be grateful no matter our situation. At The Immigrant Life, we practice gratefulness. Join us.
Th Written by Dapo Bankole.
Follow Dapo on LinkedIn