This past Saturday I took part in an event hosted by Communities@work and St. Vincent de paul to raise awareness and much-needed funds for homeless people in Canberra.
We were required to brave the Canberra weather and sleep outdoors in a stadium as a homeless person would. I started a GoFundraise page and got my work colleagues involved both in the sleep out and also in assisting me to raise funds to be given to the two organizations.
I thought raising funds was the hard bit so when it came to the day we had to sleep out; I was really excited and enthused. I borrowed a sleeping bag and yoga mat from a work colleague and headed to the stadium after work. Six of my work colleagues came along to take part in the sleep out. We played card games and told jokes until ten pm when two work mates had to go home. Five of us left, the temperature started to drop so we decided to set up our sleeping bags.
The weather had been warm during the day; it had reached a top of 30 degrees so I had not anticipated that the weather would drop to under ten degrees. I only had the sleeping bag and a light blanket, the night was going to be long!!
It started to drizzle and the five of us decided to go to the bleachers in the stadium for shelter, only to be evacuated by the security guards. We were informed that we were meant to sleep only in the middle part of the stadium. It was almost midnight, we were cold and disgruntled and just wanted to sleep and finish the challenge.
Two colleagues decided to go home and three of us were left to brave the cold.
At this point in time, I just wanted to pack up my sleeping bag and go home to my nice, warm and comfortable bed but I wasn’t going to give in; after all, I am the one who started the challenge.
We resettled in the sports field, third time lucky, I hoped. I got into my sleeping bag and immediately dozed off only to be woken by moisture on my face. It was raining, again!! The reality of being homeless really sank in. It was not fun to be homeless anymore. I covered my head with the blanket I had and hoped the rain would stop, and it did. I curled up and waited for the morning.
I was so happy when the sun came out. I knew I was going back to my house, where I could make a hot cup of tea and curl up in my comfortable bed. I felt lousy and helpless for one night, but someone out there goes through that every night.
I joined the event thinking I was helping others to be aware of what happens yet I had no clue what homeless people go through until I slept outside for a night.
It was a humbling experience and I am glad I took part.
Let’s Change the world together,
Asali the kenyan Blogger xx