Plastic Bags, Homeless Veterans and My Sweet Lil' Wonderwoman.

This actually happened in spring.....

One evening, Muriwai and I went outside for a wee little wander around the neighborhood. We bumped into Dan getting his regular spot ready for the night; laying his cardboard boxes out on the hard concrete, arranging his pile of blankets strategically and pulling important nighttime items out of his overly stuffed backpack. As we are chatting, he would disappear to his secret hiding place to get some more of his belongings.

Dan is a Vietnam veteran, he's been homeless for years, stayed at CCO a few times, struggles with PTSD and is on the brink of getting housed again (with the help of VASH funds). I've known him for years and he's a compassionate loving guy who struggles because of his war-time reality decades ago. He opens the novel he's reading and sits on his crate, knowing he doesn't have long to read before the sun vanishes for the night and all he has are the dull school and street lights.

His buddy arrives with his overly stuffed backpack and places it next to Dan. He disappears to his secret hiding place and returns with couch cushions, cardboard and a crate. He fashions his area as neatly as possible, attempting to make his area as comfortable as possible.

I tell the guys about these plastic bag mats that are made by a group of elderly folk, originating from Bethesda Nursing Home called "New Life for Old Bags". Their endeavors are twofold: they help the less fortunate and protect the environment. They collect plastic bags and crochet between 500 to 700 bags into a waterproof padded sleeping mat that separates the homeless sleeper from the cold hard concrete or the damp green grass. Here's a link to the NLOB facebook group.

All this to say: Dan and his buddy each wanted these legendary mats and I told them I'd bring them each one back from work "tomorrow". Muriwai heard most of it and wanted to be involved!

"Tomorrow" came, and I forgot to bring them home, so my sweet lil' girl, dressed in her wonderwoman outfit, walked with me over to Cornerstone in the drizzling rain to get two mats. She was one hyped up, psyched out and rearing to go little girl; the rain wasn't going to stop her and she was not going to be apart from this little adventure. So off we went....

The photos below make the rest of the story fairly self explanatory. Muriwai and I got the mats, dodged the rain several times and she posed for a couple of photos. In her rigorous self-determination, she insisted on carrying both mats; she held one with her right hand and wrapped the other around the end of her "special arm" (the name she affectionately calls her limb difference).

We walked about half a mile to Dan and delivered the mats. Yesterday's buddy wasn't there, but Kenneth, another homeless friend was with him. We asked him if he wanted it, and naturally, he did. They loved having this sweet lil' 6 year old giving them these mats, so they endlessly thanked her. We took a couple photos, chatted for a few minutes and wandered home, knowing that this is what the "Kingdom of Heaven" is all about.

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