It was the fall of 2013 when I stepped out of my comfort zone as a nurse to volunteer at a homeless shelter called Street Help. Yup, I’ve traded in my stethoscope for an apron once a week since then and I’ve never looked back. Let me tell you how it all began.
A typhoon had devastated the Philippines. I was all set to pack my bags and take my RN skills directly to the disaster zone as a medical volunteer. I’ve done it twice before. In the rubble of Haiti, two weeks after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake. And later, the same year, in regions of Pakistan flooded by record-breaking monsoons. But, this time, finances were tight and there were fires at home that needed dousing. I struggled as my heart ached to help overseas, too.
I found my solution in the words of Mother Teresa:
“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right there where you are—in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society—completely forgotten, completely left alone.”
My own Calcutta is my family with their struggles but, especially, the homeless shelter. I may not know everyone’s name at the shelter yet but their faces are imprinted in my heart. I am welcomed there like I never knew was possible. Every Monday is treasured as I draw strength from the resilience of the clients. Helping the homeless has ultimately helped me in many ways. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.
This blog will feature stories about the shelter from past visits and current times, and tales of my family, too. My biggest fan club. I’ve been blessed with two daughters, Monique and Giselle, now in their 20’s. And I’ve celebrated 33 years of marriage so far with Guy. My rock. My soul mate. Guy’s been at my side, through good times and bad. We’ve probably weathered more crazy times than most but hey, it is what it is.
So, this is how it all came to be. Join me on my journey; follow along with me to hear the latest adventures of My Own Calcutta. Thanks for stopping by!