What the bleep is wrong with people


What in the name of {fill in name of deity of choice} is wrong with people.

Florida Couple Fined $700, Threatened With Jail For Feeding Hot Meals To Homeless

that is the headline on this post on the Huffington Post . People getting fined and possibly going to jail for giving other people food. I read the article and the comments and I am just gob smacked.  When looking at their Facebook page I noticed it is some sort of Christian mission that they belong to, as far as I know it is sort of duty for a Christian to do these type of things. Actually for every one of course but the Bible specifically speaks about such things and I am not familiar enough to tell you if the same goes for other “Holy books” like the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita.

I don’t think I already told about my “religious views” beside the fact I kind of not like religion to begin with. Now I have nothing against people that believe nor against individuals within these organizations, more against the indoctrination that has creeped in over the millennia. Do I believe in a higher power that for lack of a better word could be called “God”?  yeah, although for all I care you call him Joe or Jane. Do I believe in Jesus?..yeah I do but not in the same way as most Christians do.I believe a person like Jesus has existed and that he has shown us how we are supposed to live.I don’t believe he is “THE Son of God”, I do however think he is “A Son of God” as we all are his children. I also think there is a small part in the Bible where he lays out the story about what we need to do to “claim” our spot in heaven, or in terms I see most Christians like …”On which grounds we will be Judged”

Mathew 25

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

So you see, You can consider yourself Christian and point your finger towards atheists, LGBT people, Muslims or “Cristian Black sheep” like me and say we will all go to Hell because we do this or that but you are wrong, you are dead wrong and if ANYTHING that you believe in is true you are in danger to lose your place on the right hand.

The good Lord will not look who you married, he will look who you gave water

The good Lord will not look what you smoked or drank, he will look who you fed

The good Lord will not look what you have read, he will look who you gave a place to sleep

The good Lord will not look if you shop on Sunday (or Saturday for some others), he will look who you visited that was sick or in jail

The good Lord will probably not even CARE if you believed in him or not, if you followed Jesus or not, he will care if YOU CARED. IF we all are his Children he will not send people to hell for what they believe or who they love, he will look kindly upon those that did show they understood what it means to be the caretakers of this world and everything/body on it

I hope and pray that there will be a time that we all understand this message, saying you are Christian and love your neighbor is one thing, showing is another. Please look at yourself and look deep inside? Would you qualify for the right side or the left. It’s not to late to change your ways

Once upon a blood moon


PinkM

I (re) discovered this short poem in my pictures.

I (re) discovered this short poem in my pictures. I guess my statement was not entirely true. THIS was my first poem ever.

When I talk to people about Whizzy, the wolf that is within me, they often look bewildered and confused. The idea of an alter ego in the first place is something many can’t grasp. If I tell them that this alter ego is not just “in my mind”  the confusion only grows.

In a night like this (full moon, Blood moon soon rising in the USA) I can not sleep. Primal feelings are conflicting within me. Rage, anger and frustration are swapping constantly with love, peace and kindness. The two wolves of love and hate posted before (and here again ;)) are fighting for victory. The full moon, actually the days before the full moon and the days after as well, are among the most tiresome for me. Sleeping seems impossible and the energy is overflowing.

Wolf Creed

Spirit wolf by Jocarra from deviantart

In many cultures their are spirit animals and their are many explanations on “how to find your spirit animal or spirit guide”. For me, the wolf presented itself in a vision I had when I was camping alone in the Belgian/Luxembourg forest the Ardennes. I still can recall this vision in my head although I would have a hard time describing it to you. It made itself known a Blaez which I later learned is old Breton for Wolf (did you know that Adolph means Noble Wolf? what a wrong name a certain dictator got) and it was a big dark brown wolf I guess twice the size of a German Shepherd. It took me on a journey and showed me the beauty of our precious mother earth. I have never seen waterfalls in real life, nor have I seen the canyons or fjords up close, yet during this vision they all where presented to me.

Wolfs Magic by ted786 from Deviantart

Wolfs Magic by ted786 from Deviantart

Now some of you might say that the mushrooms I took that night might have something to do with it and I agree, however.. mushrooms are when used properly, nothing more then a tool to awaken that what is inside us already.

I created Whizzy to represent my “evil” side thus Whizzy is a werewolf. However, since I met Blaez I noticed my “evil” has gone for a great part. I am in no way perfect. Just as everybody else I make mistakes, hurt people, say the wrong things etc. However since that day I also have much less of a problem with just loving people, giving hem my trust and becoming friends with them. I stopped looking at who they are but rather focused on what they represent to be.

spirit-wolves-wolf-lovers-place-32285086-1335-1000

What also happened that day si my connection with the animal world. Dogs, cats, birds and deers alike often come to me without me calling them. I can approach almost any animal I encounter without being fearful it will harm me (ok ok I haven’t tried lions and hippos yet) and when I go to the park it can happen that doves/pigeons will land next to me on a bench or even on my shoulder

I love my spirit wolf, Blaez is one of the best things that ever happened to me and I truly wish everyone could experience such an event although I do not recommend using the mushrooms if you never did that before.

The Spirit Wolf:
Through the transient fog of the dark winter night,
peered haunting blue eyes with their soft glowing light.
The powerful stare with its brilliance and intricacy,
brought on a shivering response full of caution and mystery.
They seemed to float through the air with great charm,
in an effort to announce that “they meant you no harm.”
Yet as subtle as the movements had tried to be,
an eerie feeling of desolation abruptly overtook me.
As I fell to the frozen, unforgiving, forest floor,
I noticed those two eyes had been accompanied by two more!
Soon there were three enchanting pairs upon me,
watching and listening, gliding through the trees,
With one final shiver the dark night became black,
I knew as I slept, that I would not be coming back.
I dreamt of a thousand things that night,
mostly about a past I wanted to fix and make right.
The bright morning sun was the next thing I saw,
which was followed by the touch of a rather large paw!
And after providing a steaming kiss on the nose,
the wolf disappeared, and I arose.
In the snow at my feet, there were paw prints all about,
and the surrounding outlines of the bodies, which helped keep the winter out.
The howl which followed, echoed forever it seemed…
conveying the heartfelt message, “you are important to me.”

Every Day Heroes: S.E Dogs


Every Day Heroes. When we think of heroes we tend to think people. Alanya and Lijda for example in my last two EDH blogs but also people like Fireman, Policeman, Nurses and Teachers will be counted among them by most of us. However not every Every Day Hero is a human.

In the title I used S.E. Dogs. Now you could read that as Special Edition dogs since a lot of dogs I am talking about are very “special edition” but it stands actually for Seeing-Eye Dog also known as Guide dogs.

Some History first.

References to guide dogs date at least as far back as the mid-16th century; the second line of the popular verse alphabet “A was an Archer” is most commonly “B was a Blind-man/Led by a dog” In the 19th century verse novel Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the title character remarks “The blind man walks wherever the dog pulls / And so I answered.”


The first guide dog training schools were established in Germany during World War I, to enhance the mobility of returning veterans who were blinded in combat, but interest in guide dogs outside of Germany did not become widespread until Dorothy Harrison Eustis, an American dog breeder living in Switzerland, wrote a first-hand account about a guide dog training school in Potsdam, Germany, that was published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1927. Earlier that same year, U.S. Sen. Thomas D. Schall of Minnesota was paired with a guide dog imported from Germany, but the guide dog movement did not take hold in America until Nashville resident Morris Frank returned from Switzerland after being trained with one of Eustis’s dogs, a female German shepherd named Buddy. Frank and Buddy embarked on a publicity tour to convince Americans of the abilities of guide dogs, and the need to allow people with guide dogs to access public transportation, hotels, and other areas open to the public. In 1929, Eustis and Frank co-founded The Seeing Eye in Nashville, Tennessee (relocated in 1931 to New Jersey).

USA and Canada…. click here

The first guide dogs in Great Britain were German shepherds. Four of these first were Flash, Judy, Meta, and Folly, who were handed over to their new owners, veterans blinded in World War I, on 6 October 1931 in Wallasey Merseyside. Judy’s new owner was Musgrave Frankland. In 1934 The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in Great Britain began operation, although their first permanent trainer was a Russian military officer, Captain Nikolai Liakhoff, who moved to the UK in 1933.

UK click here

Australia click here

Now of course the Seeing Eye dog is the most well known of the support dogs but there are also dogs that are trained to help other people then blind. I am thinking not only disabled people but, like we do here in the Netherlands, dogs can be trained in the following areas as well:

Kids with Autism:

Autism Service Dog

Some children with autism become mesmerized when on the streets. They suddenly run away or stay standing in one place. This can result in dangerous and difficult situations. As a parent, you are forced to always hold your child close by . Going out with your child or family together, can therefore be a big problem. Do you recognize this? By linking your child to a trained autism service dog, the danger of running away disappears and takes some of the stress off. I will list some organizations at the end of this article where more info can be found about these special dogs

BUDDY DOG FOR (FORMER) Armed Forces
Cope with life again

Buddy dog for (former) Armed Forces

Some (former) military personnel, agents or people with similar professions, are struggling with anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, social isolation and other PTSD symptoms. A specially trained dog buddy can be a solution. H/she ensures peace, regularity and ease of movement. The buddy dog also knows  practical skills with which he supports his buddy. For example waking up his buddy when he has a nightmare. These dogs can actually prevent homelessness and avoid institutionalization among those that have returned from active duty in Iraq ad Afghanistan. In the USA they are called Battle Buddy Dogs.

Battle Buddy Dog

These dogs are ALL Every Day Heroes but here is a helpful hint: I am sure that if you see such a dog helping his/her “master” you are eager to pet and praise the dog. DO NOT DO THIS unless you have gotten permission from its owner. It is very simple, these dogs are working, let them do their work please. If you see one of them resting first ASK if it is ok to approach and/or pet the dog. DO NOT GIVE IT TREATS

Besides the seeing eye links already given here are some more informative links about these dogs.

Dutch organization (all types)

Uk Organization (Dissabilities/Autism)

USA organization

Australian Organization (kids, Autism, special needs)

(Australian, similar as above)

UK organization

Worldwide Organization. All types

Many more organizations are to be found worldwide. I have only listed the Dutch, USA, UK, Canadian and Australian Organizations (and not even all of them)  since most visitors to this blog come from these countries. However google is your friend if you live in another country then mentioned.

To close this article I would like to ask if you can think of anyone/thing more deserving for the honorary title of Every Day Hero?….not?…. thought so as well 😀 A big Wolf Hug to ALL the trainers and Dogs out there, you are AMAZING

The Wolfpack – an Introduction


A few weeks ago I was kindly accepted within the WordPress Wolfpack (or the Wolfpack on WP and the WP share your blog page) Here you will find an introduction of the members.

Do you want to visit the members then follow the following links

Shaun: http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/
Dr Rex: http://hrexach.wordpress.com/
Bishop Eddie: http://bishoptatro.wordpress.com/
Just Patty: http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/
Jade: http://jadereyner.com/
Mavadelo: https://mavadelo.wordpress.com but hey, you is already here right

The text in the black wolf/white wolf picture reads:
A native American Chief was teaching his grandson about life
He said “There are two wolves fighting in each and everyone of us”
One is pride, greed, anger, jealousy, hate and resentment while the other is Love, humbleness, faith, hope, happiness and courage”

The grandson asked “Which wolf will win?”
The Chief replied “The one you feed”

Which wolf will you feed?
Think about it and start making a difference

The most amazing man in my life


No this isn’t about my father or my foster dad. It isn’t about my brothers or Ghandi or Jezus. This is about a man I met about 22/25 years ago, I don’t even know when precise but it is at least 22 and at most 25 years. Without this person my life would have been very different and many of the things I have done would not have been possible if he hadn’t been around. This is the story of Willem

I met Willem somewhere in the early 90’s in the homeless shelters in Utrecht after I came back there following my unfortunate times in Arnhem. I am not sure what triggered our initial friendship but he belonged to the group of people I chose to hang out with.

Bunkbeds, Sleep Inn shelter Utrecht

Willem made money playing the Djembe at Hoog Catharijne (a for Dutch standards large shopping mall and main train station of the Netherlands) and when weather permitted on the city hall square. As a big supporter of anything that has to do with music in general and drums in particular this drew my attention and I decided that this was something I wanted as well.

A djembe called Ilse van Kampen

As luck would have it I had a form of social security through a special project and the first possibility I got I bought myself a Djembe as well. Willem was so kind to show me some basic rhythms and it was not long after that I joined him on a regular basis on the station and squares, banging my drum making some hard needed extra money. Of course not everybody at the station/mall was happy with that especially since we often got joined by other musicians with Djembe’s, Didgeridoo’s and other instruments however money was made, shared and spend and life was good.

Then came a time that playing in Utrecht (or rather earnings in Utrecht) went down. I guess the public by now knew our play and grew a bit weary of it. Then one day Willem asked me if I felt like going to Scheveningen with him to play there on the boulevard along the beach. I was the proud owner of a small dome tent at the time and since I was feeling adventures I agreed to do so.

When we arrived in Scheveningen (a suburban area of the Hague) we started playing on the boulevard to make some money. After all you won’t survive without food and drink and in our case we wouldn’t survive without the much liked greens (no not dollars, the Dutch greens of course). Playing went fine, money came in and we had our food and smoke covered after a few hours. The video below is the two of us together with some friends playing on the Djembe and Didgeridoo (not in Scheveningen. I have no footage of that unfortunately)

So it was time to eat and near the beach and boulevard we soon discovered a snack bar (as chips shops are called here) that looked like a good place to fill our bellies. We made a lot of great decision during our time in Scheveningen but the choice for this snack bar (called “pyramid”) has probably been the best decision we made out there.

Pyramid was owned by an Iranian guy with the name Maroes, he wa married to a Dutch red head and although a Muslim he made the best pork belly I have ever eaten. Now don’t confuse the Dutch pork belly with any pork belly from whatever country. Here the pork belly is not sold as a big chunk of meat but rather as slices of about 1 cm thick and they are called Speklap (lard cutlett)

Pork belly – Speklapjes

After we had ordered our meals we went outside to wait for it to be ready when the owner came and asked us what we carried in those big duffel bags we carried around. When we mentioned that we carried Djembe’s around the man went nuts (in a positive way) and asked us to play something. When we asked if other customers wouldn’t mind he grinned and told us to play regardless of what others thought. And so we where playing and eating and having a good time until it was time to find a place to sleep.

Normally in the Netherlands, if you have a tent you sleep on a camp ground but we figured that camp grounds could cost a lot of money and if we would take the trouble to walk a few miles outside town we should have no trouble finding a place somewhere in the dunes to set up camp and so we did. After about 30 minutes walking through the dunes we found a huge stair going down to the beach with a nice spot near the dune side of the beach and we decided that this would be the place where we would camp during our time in Scheveningen. We quickly made camp and went into our sleeping bags for a good night of sleep only to be given the biggest surprise of our life when we woke up the next morning and discovered we had set up camp on the nude beach!!!!

After a good laugh we broke up camp for that day, went up the stairs towards the dunes and decided that carrying all our gear during the day was way to much work and so we dropped the tent and bag packs behind some bushes hoping they would still be there if we would get back in the evening.(In looking back a stupid move of course but to our surprise it has worked very well during the whole time we where there.) We hung our duffel bags with Djembe on our back, went into Scheveningen to first find ourselves a coffee shop for the much needed smoke and after that was sorted we went back to the boulevard and beach to play and make money.

This was one of the hottest summers in the history of my country so the beaches where full every day and most days we made a decent amount of money followed by a meal at Pyramid, coffee shop, walk to camp ground, setting up camp and go to sleep.

We met a lot of strange, funny, kind and happy people and as it goes in life also a few naggers, idiots and nut cases. One of the stories we still talk about till this day is about an old man that heard us play at Pyramid (we “had” to play every time we went there and we went there every time). He was drunk of his ass and kept repeating “you guys pl better than the Papuans in New Guinea and I can know that cause I have been there” followed by a slap with his hand to his forehead while shouting “BEER”. He even went as far as sitting on the ground straight in front of us, listening with wide open eyes occasionally slapping his head shouting “BEER”

not same man,

Then one day playing went great but money didn’t come. I don’t know why but we had played almost until our hands where bleeding and had made maybe 5 guilders (about 2 euros) and we where almost to the point that we thought about selling the Bongo’s (two small drums side by side) when a man came out of the Casino that is near the beach. He walked up to Willem with his hand reached out for a handshake and when he shaked he said “So, you guys have a good day as well” and walked off. Willem opened his hand and we noticed he had slipped a 50 guilder bill in there. Needless to say we didn’t sell the small drum set, went to Pyramid to eat and after that to the coffee shop.

When we came out of the shop later that evening because it closed for the day, we decided to roll one for the road and we sat down in a sheltered bus stop. Since I am the fastest joint roller on the planet it came down to me to make one. and I was busy doing just that when right in front of us, maybe 10 feet away, lightning struck. I swear, I haven’t moved a muscle but still I went up from my seat in the air at least a good 10 cm (while remaining in the same seated position as I was already in) and when I looked down the paper, tobacco and greens on there where vanished in thin air. It was not to be found on the bench, on the ground or any other place… it vanished…poof. At the same time the heavens opened up and a rain like in the days of Noah came down. We have waited there for a while and when the flood ended a bit we made our way to our camp site to sleep.

Of course many things have happened in Scheveningen and if I would list them all you would be reading till next week so let me just say that until this day I regard those weeks as the best vacation I have ever had.

Of course one day it was time to go back to Utrecht which is kind of funny when you think we are still talking about two homeless dudes however Utrecht was “home” so back we went. Of course during those weeks Willem and I had become even better friends then before and at least for me “friend” started to change in “bro”

I regard everyone able to become my friend but to become my bro… that is a different matter. When I call you bro I mean it. Bro for me is not something lightly said to just anyone like you see so often. I call you how I see you, simple as that.

Now bro is a very smart individual and besides being smart he has a big heart, empathy, kindness, generosity and a certain joie de vivre. (unfortunately he can be hard headed, stubborn and cranky as well…. still love ya bro) and he had started with some of his other friends with a plan to start a “union for the homeless in Utrecht” (for Dutch reader the UBD or Utrechtse Bond van Daklozen) and me… always in for something new, together with another friend thought “well you do that and then we join you with a youth division”( de UBDJ -Utrechtse Bond voor Dakloze Jongeren). Unfortunately bro had teamed up with the “wrong friends” and they went behind his back with their own project which has a story told here and here . I got involved, even asked for the “board of directors” but it took I think a good 2 years before bro finally got involved as well. During this time we had little contact especially since I was planning to move to Israel after I worked a few years at the shelter.

Israel… or there and back again 😉

When I returned from Israel I went back to the shelter and worked there again for a few months until I met my wife, strangely enough I got sacked (on false grounds) the same day Lijda and I got a relation and a new period of little contact followed.

It was a few years after that that bro started a foundation himself called Stichting Straat Advocaat (the streetlaywer foundation) basically fulfilling his dream of a union for the homeless and I decided to go and see if I could be of any help. Well that was a simple yes. Since I am very computer savvy I quickly became the one maintaining all the computer systems. well, to be honest it was someone elses job but they kind of sucked at it 😉 I have done that until a few weeks before the foundation got killed of by the city council due to them refusing to help fund it and some backstabbing from some of his “colleagues” however that was imo not my most important contribution.

A side project of this foundation was “Amoras”. Amoras was a meal project with the object of providing a good meal 3 times a week for the homeless and anyone needing it….. free of charge. The name is taken from a comic called Suske en Wiske: op het eiland Amoras (Willy and Wanda on Amoras Island) by Willy Vandersteen. In this story it is about an island where two groups of people live. the thins and the fatso’s. basically it is about food. Besides that, if you read the name backwards it is Saroma which is a popular dessert around here. During the running time of this project bro (who had a cooking education) was the head chef, I was his sous chef and a few of our friends where the chopping crew.

During the lifespan of Amoras we have served thousands of meals in the sleep inn (another night shelter that kindly let us use their kitchen and main room) and I think we where the most poplar “restaurant” among the homeless and poor. This project has unfortunately also been killed off by the city council in favor of a christian organization that had it’s “own money”.

In between the NOIZ and Amoras I got married and bro I asked bro to be my best man. He kindly agreed to this and I hope I will one day be able to repay this favor. After all during his work for the streetlaywer foundation he met a woman online that over the years became the love of his life. I take a little credit for them meeting since he met her on a poker site I installed for him on his pc 😉

For some reason a lot of his friends abandoned him after the streetlaywer adventure but bro and me got only more close. Besides Djembe he learned to play the didgeridoo and we have played many times together. either the two of us or with some friends as you can see in next video.

Our relation together has evolved over the years to that of “two brothers from another mother. I visit him at least 3 times a week and we will play some shooters or Dynasty warriors (a hack and slash game) or I am just playing alone when he is chatting with Eileen, his lady from across the pond who has become a very dear and special friend to me and Lijda as well. We but mainly he had the pleasure of her coming to holland in 2012 and bro has had the pleasure of visiting her in the USA. I still hope bro will take the next step simply because I want to see him happy and together with the love of life. Of course that is not up to me and I guess everyone will understand that this is not a simple task if you both live 5000 miles apart.

This amazing man is my bro, my friend and my point of sanity in tis mad world, I wish everybody had a friend like I have my bro and I will love him (platonic)  for the rest of my life.

Bro, this one is for you, may we be friends till the universe collapses.

from left to right: Eileen, Willem and Lijda during the departure of Eileen back to the U.S of A

In Loving Memory: Manja ??? – 20 Feb 2014

Video


she past away about 2 hours ago. We don’t know why, what happened and when. 36 hours ago everything was fine but since yesterday evening we noticed she did strange and had a problem walking. We called a vet but where told we could only come if we could pay in cash or if they had an ok from the organisation we get help from. I was unable to arrange that today and had hoped to go to the vet with her tomorrow. It will now be with a different reason 😦

We had her for just a while, she was like us… she had been homeless until my bro found her and after a short while gave her to us (not because he didn’t love her mind you) and she has lived with us for a little over 6 months. In those months she has given us great joy and fun and she will be dearly missed indeed.

New Day. the Night Shelter part 2


This is part 2 of a real story that starts here

New Day–Patty LaBelle

Before we started with the N.O.I.Z, when it still was just a plan, one of the issues we discussed was which people would be eligible for a job as volunteer and what we could and should offer in return.The ideal situation would be that everyone that applied would be able to get a chance but we also knew that a lot of those applications would prove to be unrealistic. We knew that there would be people among it that had the intention to really change their life around but that there would also be a lot of people that simply wouldn’t be able to make it for a number of reasons. There where the drug and alcohol addicts. These people would have the first intention to do what is needed but their addiction would come in the way. Their where the mental cases which depending on what was “wrong” with them could work very well but could also mean they could be flipping out or snapping at a moments notice. There where the young kids aged 16 to 20 who came with all the right reasons but proved to lack responsibility and so on. Getting volunteers out of this available lot would mean a lot of talking and planning.

The first days we kept running the shelter therefore with the help of the squatters, some former homeless and a few people from the other shelters, meanwhile having interviews with the candidates for a place as volunteer. The plan was as following. The homeless volunteer would work shifts at the shelter, either night or day shifts, and in return they would have their own place to live. They would be able to apply for social benefits, get a financial aid to work on debts and if needed they would get help with other problems that they might have like addictions, reconnecting with family and things like that. We had come to an agreement with the city council that all who would come work for the foundation would get a priority treatment and the social security office and that they could work while retaining benefit (In the Netherlands when you have social benefits, you can’t just go out for volunteer work, you need to have permission or risk losing your benefits)

Of course applications for volunteer work poured in and after a lot of interviews we managed to form a team of volunteers that should be able to run the shelter day and night. It consisted mainly of young people between 20 and 30 years, some of them with light addictions but nobody with major issues. This was of course on purpose since our first weeks had to be about forming a structure, drawing out the lines on how the shelter and everything involved with it should and could work. During all this time talks with the city continued and the risk of us having to leave the building always remained in the background We knew beforehand that the building we occupied would be a long shot when it comes to getting it as permanent place so part of our “demands” was that we wanted a permanent place for the shelter and a permanent solution for the housing of the volunteers.Now, if the city wants something from you they expect that you do this within a certain time frame, for example you have to fill in forms and return them within 14 days. However when you want something done from city other means of measuring time seems to come in play. Maybe they have a calendar there that misses a few days after each page or they have clocks that run at a tenth of normal speed.. I don’t know. Fact was that this all went very slow

Running a shelter will cost money, even if you run a shelter in a building that costs you nothing. Just the mornings alone needed several loafs of bread, loads of milk, coffee and tea. Thins like cheese, peanut butter and other products to put on the bread. There was the need for soap , shampoo and toothpaste. Then in the evening people of course where hungry when they walked in so there was the need for a hot meal and again loads of coffee, tea, sugar and milk and then the next day rinse and repeat.

To be able to pay for (most)  of this a small contribution was asked. I am not entirely sure anymore but I believe we asked ƒ2,50 (we still had guilders back then) for sleeping and I believe ƒ1,50 for a hot meal. Of course (especially in the starting period) if someone didn’t have the money he was still welcome. The shelter proved to be a huge success and that winter we made sure nobody had to sleep outside.

Slowly but surely winter came to an end but still there was no solid agreement with city council. this was the moment the sympathy and public opinion would probably turn from “it’s winter you can’t kick them out” to “I couldn’t care less” thus giving police the opportunity to remove us from the building without to much outrage.) Luckily however we had been successful in showing that our shelter was a viable alternative for the existing shelters, that our concept of “self governing” was working and that the city was indeed better of with keeping us alive so finally, a few day before winters end , there was some result. The agreement was made that we would close down the shelter for the time being after the winter while the city would search for a suitable building for us where we could return with the shelter the following winter. Also the city agreed to keep the current group of volunteers together. This was done by putting us into a cheap hotel until more permanent housing was arranged.

Winter ended and the shelter closed down. We all went into the hotel waiting for what more would come. days became weeks and weeks became months

Then, just a few weeks before the next winter the most important issue got solved. The city could not find a suitable building for our shelter so in the end they decided to build us one. On a vacant lot near the main railroad that runs through ton, and right opposite a police station, a pre-fab building was erected. You might have seen similar buildings on building sites. They often house the on-site offices and/or lunch accommodations for the workforce. Now they got used to create a shelter complete with kitchen, showers and big living area. It had 2 rooms for the volunteers (who still didn’t had their own housing) a room for couples, one for the woman and 4 regular rooms. Each room had beds for 8 persons. There was a special luggage room that could be locked and everything else you need or want for a shelter. From then on, the N.O.I.Z was an official night shelter, accepted by the city and police, loved by our clients and cooperating with other organizations like the Salvation Army and other night shelters.

Funny thing was that working in our new location proved to be a more difficult task then in the old location. The old building we had was of such a big size, that the volunteers could have their own space when off duty. They could have a good rest and relax a little while in the new building they didn’t have that privacy. I can recall many days that I came out of a night shift just to be awake the whole day due to noises of working people in the building. This was certainly not a good situation and thus tensions rose. We have had many little crisis during that first year but amazing enough they all stayed within the group. Our clients never ha to deal with them apart from them having to wait a bit because someone had quit and a replacement had to be “called in”. I have worked many shifts that where not mine due to things of that nature.

but then at last, , we got word that housing was available. City council had found two houses near the edge of town that was perfect for us. There where enough rooms to house all volunteers and it was accessible enough to be in town quickly if people had to go to their shift (where ever and whenever these would start again). Now the contours of our new organization took shape and our promise to the volunteers that they would be able to get a new chance to get off the streets could finally be fulfilled. Now with housing for the volunteers and a building to run a night shelter we finally had what we set out to accomplish. The N.O.I.Z was running and was there to stay.

This all happened long ago but the shelter is still running strong. I have worked there myself for a good 3 years in which I almost exclusively did the night shifts. This year it will celebrate it’s 20th anniversary and I am very proud of that. The pre-fab building have gone and the shelter is now situated in a nice building near the center of town. It has merged with one of the biggest organizations in regards to social work with homeless and addicts but is still true to it’s self governing principles. Every night about 30 people sleep and eat there, every day and night a group of former homeless is doing their shifts meanwhile working towards independence and a brighter future.

As you might have seen, this all took place in a period of my life that I was also enjoying the greens and some other things like mushrooms and mdma so the timeline could be a little off target. However all events have happened in this timeframe and I have told them to the best of my recollection. I have avoided names since I take privacy very serious and there might be people that do not want to be associated with the N.O.I.Z for whatever reason they might have. This article remains subject to corrections if I encounter major errors.

Moral of my story if there is any would be that no matter what your circumstances are you have always the choice to change things around. If even a homeless can house other homeless then others should be able to help themselves and others as well.   If you are in a situation that requires action, make that choice and act. I hope you liked my story and maybe we meet again in another blog

Mavadelo