Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Thursday, April 03, 2003


When I was coming back from town yesterday, I saw a a thin, tall black man walking from a hotel toward the gas station. There was nowhere I could pull over to talk to him so I went down a ways to turn around. He was gone. I looked around some of the store parking lots, but I had obviously missed him. With home as my goal so I could do some flower planting, I again headed for a u-turn and there he was standing by the left turn lane where I was getting ready to pull into. I rolled down my window and handed him a card. I didn't need to back traffic up to turn as he yelled "where can I find these people? I need help." I motioned for him to meet me in the parking lot of the hotel. I got out a soft drink for us and told him about some of the others and what we are trying to do (get a shelter.) He was shocked that I was the person on the card.

His name is Herman (he has no problem with me using his name.) He isn't from here. Actually he is from S.C. near where we moved from. He just arrived into Williamsburg today. Somehow he was in NN and a man told him about a restaurant that was hiring here and since he needed a job, he made his way down. Well, there was no place like the guy told him that was hiring. He has no family here. And no transportation. Confused of what to do next, he went to the Salvation Army. "They really are nice people there" we both agreed. The Salvation Army got him a room for the night and he had been walking to get some food, but he realized there weren't any places near him in a short distance for a tired body.

His past experience is contracting and painting. OK this works so far. I told him about my husband and how busy he is getting. But, I had other things on my mind. "I want a flower bed and the dirt is too hard for me to turn over! My husband has been too busy to do it for me so I can start planting. Would you come and do that? We will get you dinner and then you can interview with my husband when he gets in." Of course at this point I got the typical "what's a girl like you doing this for?" This always shocks me. Why does everything come down to colors and genders. Isn't it just about people? Earlier that day, the guys were talking with me about colors. They joked about how I wasn't white and they weren't black. They pointed to a door and said that is white and my shoes are black and neither of us come close to those colors. I had to laugh. So I shared this with Herman (so he didn't think I was laughing at him) and he started laughing too. We talked on the way down to the house. Not so much about his story, but about the myth or stereotype of homelessness. "Oh, I don't drink m'am. I tried it once and just didn't like it." And he has all his teeth!

Within an hour, he had turned all the dirt up so it was now soft enough to add some compost and potting soil and seeds. Geoff arrived and they talked about Herman's work experience. Geoff realized fast that Herman did know how to paint and prep work. So he was hired. Herman isn't sure how long he is going to stay, but for now he wants to work. We dropped him off at the hotel after getting him some food at KFC and they both agreed for 7:30 this morn to meet.


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