Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Dumpster diving

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I should be getting paid for what I know.
The Hunter
Dominic Girard
The Current, CBC, Canada, 2011
Library Spotlight
Canada, Environment, Money"


Surfari: Dumpster Rennaisance

By Rogi Riverstone
(April 15, 2001)

An Introduction
Mail message
From: rriverstone
Date: Wed, May 23, 2001, 9:05am
my work
I write for Net4tv Voice, internet magazine. One of my most recent stories is, "Surfari©: Raising Turtes & Kids."
I am disabled. I live on a Social Security Disability pension of apx. $500 U.S. per month. My articles are sold to the magazine at $25 U.S. per.
I work as a volunteer in my neighborhood, which is called The War Zone.
It is a slum, infested with petty crime, violence, drug- and alcohol addiction and hopelessness. A large portion of the population is immigrant and does not speak English.
In my neighborhood, I teach: English as a 2nd language, parenting skills, budgeting a d finances--basic life in the U.S.A. skills to adults.
I also, and this is my favorite work, open my home to kids in the 'hood.
We: garden, cook, repair things, learn study skills, etc. I've taught them how to be on the internet; most have email addies and home pages now, even tho their only access to the web is at the library. Thru the daily life stuff I do like my pets, gardening, cooking, etc., I'm teaching them to think for themselves, use tools, understand the basics of the physical sciences (e.g.: the reasons behind the chemical reaction when one mixes baking soda & vinegar, botany, biology, etc.).
The kids were afraid to come to my new apt. bldg. The bldg. is notorious for violence and criminal activity. For example, in the back corner of the property--where I chose to live--people would hide out to shoot up and drink.
I chose this corner because it's as far from the ugly streets as possible. My neighbors have chickens--one had her babies in my yard.
There are trees, flower covered vines, and yards and yards of dirt, covered in river stones.
I scratched out flower beds, added compost, started a garden. I dug up over a dozen hypodermic syringes, broken beer bottles, used condoms, human feces, dirty underwear, dried vomit. Now, pumpkins, gourds, corn, flowers, etc. are growing and sprouting and blooming. Hummingbirds and butterflies hang out, instead of crack whores and street people.
So, the kids see what has happened since i moved in, and they're all starting to return to me.
I got into the kids when one was trying to scale the fence at my old home on the next block, with my VCR under his arm. He said he was gonna sell it for shoes.
I pick trash in the 'hood. when people r evicted, they leave with the clothes on their backs. the landlords throw everything in the dumpster. I find it, clean it, repair it, sell it or give it away.
I gave the kid a pair of Air Jordans and asked if he were hungry. I taught him how to use the microwave, clean up his mess, etc. he told his friends and cousins about me. before that day, they all thought i was a witch.
Within a week, 20 kids were running in and out of my home almost every day. They helped me and i helped them. They needed adult guidance and attention. I never lied to them--which was a first for most of them.
Most of my neighbors still think I'm crazy, a witch, etc. but they respect what i do for their kids, and they don't hurt me. and, now that there's a garden back here in the corner, i've noticed much less trash back here. the most adle brained drunks don't even bother it. They respect it.
I study. I get paid to write about what interests me.
I live on less than $600 U.S. per month, but I'm rich. Now, to those of u not in the states, I am very aware that I'm at leas middle class by other nations' standards--internet? microwave? vcr? America's very weird. As Will Rogers said, America is the only country to drive to the poor house in cars.
The poor in the U.S., I suppose, are living in the air conditioned part of Hell. LOL.

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