Everything started running to the wrong platform after asking the security where the train left for Valencia. Vincent and I lost it for 15 seconds because we had to be on platform number 10 instead of number 11 ... We knew that this event would be a little different so we laughed a little and waited for the next one. I had a coffee with milk and he ordered a red tea as always while a woman took a picture of our banners resting on a chair. Without knowing it, we started a trip that helped us to get to know each other much more and that, probably, was reflected in the team work we did.
We did not miss the train at 11:30 am so we searched our seats and started a conversation that lasted 36 hours.
Due to lack of time, we had to plan the event on the same train and decided that the approach would be different this time. We would try to offer a more concrete value to the homeless in Valencia instead of focusing on the association. As one of my father's words says, "if you do not offer anything for society, do not expect anything from it." The first objective was to help the first homeless person to cross in Valencia and that's how it was. The second objective was to create the phrases for our banners, something that would take a lot longer. Suddenly, a worker from the Renfe told us that we had to get off at 3 stops to make a transfer. We went out and entered a bar and sat under an old television that was broadcasting the news thatETA will disarm on April 8 . The next train was coming so it was time to go to the platform again.
Once again sitting in our seats and with my cell phone off without a battery, we kept thinking what would be the best messages for our event until we made some definitive decisions.
Finally we arrived in Valencia and we found a crowd happy and overwhelming at the same time. Emotions found but well known so we continue without a map and without a destination but with a lot of determination. We did what any other person who is in a massive street party would do, we went where everyone was going. At 5 minutes we find a young Romanian homeless with epilepsy who had been living on the street since he was 12 years old because his mother, Monica, left him and had nowhere to go. He was lying, his face almost kissing the ground waiting for donations without much hope. I sat on the floor in front of him and asked him if I could talk to him to help him. He explained that he needed € 15 to have the medicine he needs to take every month. I gave him a banner and a pen and let him write his message.
Before saying goodbye, he raised his sleeve to show us that he had told us his real name since he had it tattooed. Vincent and I already had our first objective: Raise € 15. Before getting down to work, we stopped at a restaurant, Pans & Co., to eat something fast and create the banners. Some workers who had to clean the streets gave us the advice to go to La Petxina to talk with homeless people. We thanked them and focused on our first challenge. We stopped for a moment to take a photo in front of one of Las Fallas because it is important to participate and celebrate the event that gives us the opportunity to communicate to people what we are doing.
Having a clear goal always helps so we went straight to the point: To seek help for Marius. I spoke with TVE without results; I spoke with a small pharmacy next to the Ajuntament de Valencia that did not want to participate and two other pharmacies either; until I met PatFreedrummer who agreed to collaborate.
The agreement was what we collected with him during his first two songs would go to our cause and we got it before the second song began thanks to the strangers who passed in front of his performance. Thanks to a donation from Marcos Pla Saez and his companion, we arrived at € 15. Half an hour later I received a message on Facebook confirming a donation of € 45 to help us from the United States. In less than an hour and a half, we got 4 months of medicine for a homeless person we did not know. It's nice to start a conversation that can accelerate the process of helping homeless people improve their quality of life. Now it was time to check-in at our luxury hotel with marble floors, the Ajuntament de Valencia, and start creating awareness in front of him with our banners.
It is difficult to imagine all the stories we would hear before we put ourselves before so many people but there is always one that stands out more than another. We met a Venezuelan dressed for a Star Wars shoot who approached us with curiosity. He confessed to us that he was living on the street as well and that he was working this day to make a living. He told us that he slept where he could and usually near the plaza in front of the City Hall of Valencia. Although we have the image that homeless people do not work, there are many who are moving to get ahead.
Time flew and we began to enter sleep as it was 1h30 at night. It was time to rest so we went to the City Hall door to rest our bodies but, above all, our minds. We put our sleeping bags over the cold marble and asked a very nice guy from Mexico if he could get us the last photo of the night.
I have slept in strange streets for the last seven months and I do not get used to it, both for the good and for the bad. I close my eyes and try to get carried away by the dream until we receive a touch from the police. It did not take long this time. I felt bodies very close to us and I wondered how long they would take to tell us something. An hour and a half "sleeping" happened until a voice that tried to show authority demanded that we get up and move our little signs. I asked him in what part of the law it is specified that it was illegal to sleep or to be seated in front of the Town Hall. He answered that he did not know and that he should go to the public library to find him. If there is a lawyer reading this article, I would like to know if it is true that it is illegal or not because I will take a written sheet next time to defend my rights if what he says is really not true. The mentality of "because I say it" seems to me to be a response from a 3-year-old child when you do not know the reason behind "just because." Many homeless people are treated as ignorant by giving them this kind of feedback and obviously will not have the opportunity to defend themselves without the help of a lawyer.
Según la policia, es ilegal estar en frente de la puerta del Ajuntament de Valencia mientras todo el mundo va borracho por la calle. Si un policía no puede citar una ley, no debe ser capaz de imponerla.Me dijo ir a la biblioteca pública para buscarla. Como él seguramente 😂 #Fallas #TodosDurmiendoEnLaCalle #contradicciones
We returned to Pans & Co where their employees received us very kindly again and we rested inside, out of the cold until 4 o'clock because they had to close. We went out in search of our street bed and walked with all the rock that still remained after the party until we found a BBVA teller with a Russian man sleeping inside. We opened the door silently so as not to scare him and then I asked him for permission to share this tiny space. He looked at me a bit misplaced and accepted and I gave him € 1 to thank him for sharing that space with us.
Another thing that I do not accustom myself to is the cold and hard ground. Two ideas that came up for me that night were 1) a breeze block so that the air does not get under the door and 2) a hip pillow because it is terrible to find the perfect posture sleeping on the street.
The only good thing about waking up in the street the morning after a big party is that there is almost nobody in the streets because everyone is dead sleep snoring in their beds. The first thing we always do is look for a place to go to the bathroom because these needs are unprecedented. On the way to the McDonald's to piss and have breakfast, we met a friend of mine, Kenn, which I know on Facebook since January 2012 but never had the opportunity to meet us in person. It came with a bag of Valencian oranges to accompany our McDonalds breakfast. Neither Kenn nor Vincent knew it but they were going to have an opportunity to create a special friendship since the two have much in common. From there, the second day was going to be more personal and intimate. This day, the audience we had to talk to was ourselves with the presence of a great friend. We spent two hours exchanging stories about our origin and the journey we went through to Spain. Each story was unique but the common thread was the same: the search for our happiness. After chatting in a bank, Kenn invited us to his house to eat something very tasty homemade and continue the laughter and conversation.
This photo shows one of the most beautiful moments as President of Entrepreneurs Without a Roof for me: the moment in which they do not need me; the moment they walk on a path alone and create their own path. These moments are brief at the beginning but throughout the process, they are more and become more independent. A few hours later we decided to go out into the street again, this time to the Casa de Caridad to eat more because hunger is constant when you are living on the street. He controls you and takes you anywhere to calm him down. The first impression was not very good because a boy, who did not want to help us, explained everything to make sure it was impossible to eat in his soup kitchen. They invited us to go to another place called Rehoboththat was the only option in Valencia that could help us. It took us an hour to arrive because we did not know how to find it or with the help of the police, even though it was only 5 minutes from the door of the Casa de Caridad. As soon as we arrived, we saw a note that left me speechless. CLOSED.
I contacted Casa de Caridad a little desperate and its tone changed because they invited us to come back to pick up some food. It did not take us long to arrive this time and they received us very nicely with two plastic bags. We thanked them and crossed the street to eat in the park.
I did not try to hide my smile in the photo although I must confess that something very funny happened or at least it seemed funny after the fatigue of being on the street during the failures. I said to myself "I'm sure I touched a cheese sandwich and how I hate cheese sandwiches!" The first sandwich was of tuna pate but the second was of cheese as predicted! Vincent touched a sandwich of ham and tuna but not cheese. I knew it! What injustice! LOL. I did not understand, or rather, I did not empathize with the homeless people, who are like miquis at lunchtime, until the same thing happened to me. Although it seems obvious later, homeless people have palates and their tastes like us. I think it's part of the dignity too. Being able to say no to something you do not like allows you to think that you control your situation. My ego was completely absent because hunger was very present so I ate all the sandwiches with pleasure and rested a little. The hours you live on the street are eternal and more when you approach the time to end the event. We started walking towards the station; a very frustrating task with so many people rubbing shoulder to shoulder that afternoon. In addition, the streets were cut at many points so we walked slowly with the crowd. We wanted to leave our banners with La Falla de Acnur so they would burn together but if we stopped we would have missed the train again so we had to change plans. Before placing our banners strategically on the streets of Valencia, we wanted to talk to a homeless person more to try to help him. Jose had his CV well presented and he really wanted to work on anything. I would be a perfect candidate as an Entrepreneur Without a Roof if we had a team in Valencia. I went to his side and we talked about his situation and especially about his desire to get ahead to improve his life and provide financially to his children with whom he could no longer coexist.
I gave him a hug after making a video and taking a picture to help him have more visibility before going to the train station. I hope he gets a job! I did not know exactly where we were going to position our banners but I had an idea. We went to the Plaza del Ajuntament and placed one of the banners on the floor, under the sweeps so that everyone who came to see it could step on it and observe it. I turned around and Vincent was gone. With so many people I do not want to imagine what I would feel if I lost my son in the crowd like a man I met and what happened to him while talking to a police officer. I went around looking for it and decided to go to the station with the hope that common sense would take him there. I found it hard to find it but after all, we could find it.
At the very end of #TodosDurmiendoEnLaCalle, we strategically placed the last two cardboard signs as a way of saying goodbye and leaving our mark. It was a great experience and we are looking forward to the next one in Sevilla for #SemanaSanta! #LasFallas #EmprendedoresSinTecho #HomelessEntrepreneur
We got on the train's tail and in a few minutes we were sitting in our seats with a tremendous desire to sleep and, above all, to get to Barcelona to continue with our work. We would like to remind you that this action of #TodosDurmiendoEnLaCalle will accelerate the process of providing shelter and creating work for the homeless. We hope that all citizens, companies and the government put the batteries so that we can not make anyone sleep in the streets of Barcelona in 2022. We hope that you will come to the next event that will begin in Seville during Holy Week on the 12th of April until April 15! We invite you to help us pay for transportation (one flight because it is the cheapest and fastest) round trip (€ 165 x 2 = € 330) with a donation (ES78 0081-1699-53-0001058408) if you want to help us to accelerate the process of eliminating homelessness. We do not need anything else since the hotel on the street is free and the food will be obtained through the will of the town itself during the event?