I’ve written about Misery Pimping many times and it’s definitely an issue that I struggle with. For years I’ve been good friends with a man who runs a charity here in Romania, an actual, genuine philanthropic foundation which works very hard to reduce the suffering of children and he and I have often discussed this issue.
I also know many of his volunteers and staff and for them it’s actually quite easy to be openly proud about their participation in helping make people’s lives better. It feels good to say that you work as part of a team that is helping reduce suffering in this world.
But when you’re at the top, so to speak, it’s strangely uncomfortable because it always makes you feel as though you are bragging. It’d odd how difficult it can be to do someone a good turn sometimes. Being selfish or greedy is certainly shameful behavior but it’s also a heck of a lot easier for other people to understand. When you do something good for someone, your motives get put under suspicion.
Nonetheless, despite my discomfort, I’m happy to report that Adevarul wrote a nice article about the two homeless people that I’ve adopted. It also has the same extended videoclip of them that was featured originally on Transilvania Live! the week before.
Although all of you reading this are quite comfortable with the internet in our daily lives, for my two homeless adoptees it’s still a new and sometimes confusing world. I’m quite happy to say that yesterday I finally arranged for them to see that extended film clip (linked above), the first time that they’d ever had a chance to see themselves. I had my video camera and recorded them watching themselves on a laptop and it will be (when the documentary is finished) a very touching coda to all of the struggles that they’ve gone through.
Unmentioned in the article is that on Friday we managed to secure a job interview for Ishti (variously named Stefan or Istvan) with a firm here in Cluj-Napoca. A job offer was made to him concomitant with some of the necessary bureaucratic Romanian paperwork bullshit and hopefully that will all get taken care of on Monday. Assuming that happens, he will then be a gainfully employed young man with a bed to sleep in, a modern bathroom and a working kitchen where he can prepare nutritious food.
That’s quite a step up from conditions just six weeks ago, when we first started, and I think the simple humanity of it is enough of a reward. As I’ve been going through some of the footage, I realized that some of the peripheral people in the film, other homeless people who live here in Unicorn City, have already passed away. It’s a stressful environment and the cold temperatures snap the fragile threads connecting many of these people living on the margins.
Two months ago I decided to make a film, not as part of some grand gesture on my part but solely because I felt it was worth doing. Their stories were interesting and deserved to be told. I’m not exactly religious in the conventional sense but I do concur with the passage in Matthew 25:40, that a society is best changed by starting at the “bottom” rather than at the top. After all, it does none of us any good if the Prime Minister is a decent man if people are still freezing to death in the streets of the major cities of this country.
Thank you to all of you for your support, both the encouraging messages and letters as well as the actual donations of clothing and other items. I’ve always said that Romanians have enormous hearts and I knew that if I could connect those who are able to give with those who need a helping hand then the world would be a better place, step by step, one person and one act at a time.
It has been my privilege and honor to play this small role as a facilitator and I will update all of you in the near future on new developments. Thanks :)