Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ke Akua's Love...

Meredith has finally made it. After losing her job and a bad divorce ten years ago, she finally got off the street Thursday night after eight years being homeless with the last two living on the sidewalk in front of the District Court building at Hotel and Alakea Street. Much Aloha to John and his street ministry for helping find her a bed in their home. She called me Wednesday to help her get some of her bags into storage which she had saved money for. She had so many suitcases and trashbags filled with all her Worldly possessions. It took two days to get her bags sorted. She was able to throw away a lot but still had a lot.

Her beautiful friend, Renee, who is deaf, guarded her bags while we transported them back and forth to Richards Street to fill the car. I had to push a cart filled with bags and suitcases for about 75 yards. People were staring at me because I was dressed somewhat nicely but looked like I was homeless pushing my cart down the street. Meredith and I had to laugh. An attorney friend of mine drove by and yelled out the window. I didn’t have time to explain to her what I was doing. She probably thought I had hit hard times.

There were so many mo’o, or lizards, in her bags and mo’o eggs stuck to things when we pulled the tarps and trash bags off of her belongings. I told her they were her protectors. She left her canned food at the Bus Stop for others to pick through at night. We filled my car to the brim. I still don’t know how I stuffed everything into my backseat, plus her and her bags in the front seat. We couldn’t fit her camping chair in my car, the chair she slept in for a few years, which was given to her by a Hawaiian trash collector who felt sorry for her. We passed it over the fence by ‘Iolani Palace to a man and woman living on a blanket and they were so grateful to have a chair to sit in. We went to the McDonald’s drive-through to get her dinner and had a nice time talking. It seemed like I had known her forever. She told me much more of her story. She is so courageous.

While she had a steady group of well-wishers and small circle of friends watching out for her, she had her share of evil. From the guy who threw a flammable liquid on her while she was sleeping to light her on fire, melting one of her suitcases with her papers inside, to the guy who threatened her that he would hit her on her head with a hammer while she slept. She ended up wearing a hardhat while she slept but someone stole it a few nights ago. Another woman, a city employee according to Meredith, expressed it was her “life’s mission” to get rid of Meredith. She was also mean to a Salvation Army kettle ringer too as Meredith learned from others. Then there was the postal employee, in uniform, who smiled and introduced himself to her after work to see if she was okay, and then who showed up at 3:00 a.m. the next morning to proposition her for sex. Meredith’s unwavering faith in Ke Akua kept her safe in my belief. She had many Guardian Angels and ancestors around her.

When I took her to her new home, she couldn’t believe it. I left her there last night after meeting John, her new Kahu. This morning, I picked her up and took some more of her bags, which she kept with her to sort, to the storage locker. She said she took a hot shower, the first in as long as she could remember and loved her bed but her back hurt because she had slept sitting up in her folding chair for so many years now. She had to prop herself up with the pillows and sleep sitting up a little. She just can’t believe that she finally is off the street.

When I spend some time with Meredith, we laugh and share so much. When we depart, I am so ramped up with the ‘uhane hemolele that I feel so alive with so much spirit. I am so blessed to have our paths crossed. Sometimes in life, you just need to reach out to someone with a smile or a hello. It can change your whole World…


peglegca said...

My husband and I are regular visitors to Honolulu. Probably around 2004 or 05 we came across Meredith. Every time we come to the island, we seek her out. We have spoken to her and have seen her move around several times over the years. This time we could not find her. We walked all over Honolulu and down most of the other busy streets. I was so happy to find your blog. God bless you and your loving ministry. I would love to read more about her progress back into mainstream society.