I went back on-air with Beth-Ann Kozlovich yesterday to share the epilogue to my personal story. Sharing the epilogue was not nearly as emotional as the first interview in August, and I felt a lot better about sharing the good news.
My closest friends and family heard the hesitation in my voice as I described my dad’s journey resurfacing into his new reality. The truth is, I haven’t seen him since I visited him at the hospital. I have been in contact with family members regarding his recovery, and was told that he wanted to regain his physical health before seeing me again. I can understand given that his body had deteriorated, and was battling numerous infections. He just wants to be healthy again.
I am looking forward to seeing him soon, and hope to share a little bit about the project. I’m not sure how he will react or respond, but I know that he will appreciate the photographs and conversations I recorded. I’m so grateful that he is alive and getting better, and can only pray that our relationship will continue to grow in this lifetime. One day at a time… that’s what I keep reminding myself anyway.
I started walking the streets again after the interview and met Dedy, a 35 year-old man originally from Jakarta, Indonesia. He had moved to Hawai`i when he was about 7 years-old with his adoptive parents and experienced a life journey in the past 10 years. His dog, Kai, was sitting on his lap when I approached them.
My friends and family oftentimes wonder how I manage to get to know people who are living on the streets. It’s really no different than walking up to a complete stranger at a coffee shop, and asking about their new iPhone. I just happened to ask about Dedy’s dog, and the cute little pin he was wearing around his collar — a Honolulu Police Department pin.
Dedy and his adoptive mother were evicted sometime in 2000-2001 after his adoptive father passed away. With very little resources on hand, he found himself bouncing between friends’ houses, and then on the streets. He found his dog, Kai, about three years ago near Waikiki and decided to forgo his application to the shelters so he could keep Kai. He described his life living on the streets, and the feelings of continuous judgment he experiences because of stereotypes surrounding the homeless. Dedy, along with many others in the area, has a small part-time job working as a janitor and uses his income for basic necessities like food and clothing.
As we sat in a corner of a storefront watching pedestrians pass by, Dedy’s poignant words reminded me of a conversation I recently had with Randy a few days before:
“I wish people would stop judging us the wrong way. We are all equal, we are all human. Just because one homeless person does something bad, it doesn’t mean that we’re all the same.”
During this holiday season, my heart and mind turns to those who are not as fortunate. I know that a camera can’t solve the world’s problems, and it rarely ever changes a person; but I hope that I can continue on this path to share the voices of these individuals. Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading!