I have always struggled with seeing the suffering of people living on the street. The older I get the harder I find it to bear. I live in the 10th district of Paris. It's a very multicultural part of the city and it is home to Gare Du Nord (Main north train station). There are a lot of homeless people here on the streets. Over the last week I have been getting to know them by face. I was walking down the street with a mate the other night and I decided I would sit down with a group and try to communicate with them. Most of them were from Eastern Europe. They're actually victims of the war years ago in that region. Fortunately one of them spoke English. I asked many questions. I asked how they got here to Paris and why? I asked one man how he lost his leg. I asked them if I could make a film about their lives? They said no. I will go back to that group of men in the next days. With a friend that can translate for me. I will try again to crack them open so I can help find a more comfortable living arrangement than on the filthy streets of Gare du Nord. Tragically the man with no leg has become a hopeless alcoholic. He often falls from his wheel chair and is sleeping in front of Mc Donald's most of the time. His friends help him. They are a unit of men with no hope, no love, no toilet, no home, no money, no running water. They're filthy, and have nothing. And it breaks my heart. I really want to know what they went through, how they got here.
The man above is a homeless man that I sometimes bought food for. I am not a fan of giving them money. It's an old photo from London. He usually sits on Oxford st somewhere. His dog is his life companion.
They are people, and so many of them are good people that have lost faith in their self or have been damaged some how. There must be a way to help them get their lives in shape. There must be.
I hope I can start this project with them here in Paris and I hope that some how I can show their side and through doing this we can learn how to help them. It's so easy to turn away. But don't always take the easy way.
I hope my next blog is about the man with one leg. I hope I can film him or take his portrait.