Monday, February 24, 2020

Hotel 22

I am currently working as the night monitor for the seasonal homeless shelter, City With Dwellings.  We derive our name and mission from the beautiful passage of Isaiah 58.  I love the part that says:
...and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
Working with individuals experiencing homelessness has given me new gratitude for life and appreciation for the relative luxuries of homeownership.  Driving a city bus put me in contact with poverty in new ways and challenged me in how I look for ways to share that experience with others. I am eager to share the stories below.

Hotel 22 is a 24-hour bus in Silicon Vally, California. It is Valley Transit Authority Route 22 and a trip from East San Jose to Paloalto takes an hour and a half.  It got its name because homeless people ride it to seek shelter at night.

My dad heard about it on the radio and told me to look it up. I am so glad I did because I came across two great documentaries.

I was spellbound as I listened to the BBC's documentary podcast.  It made my heart hurt for the driver who is falling off the benefits cliff and trying not to lose hope.  More and more I realize that drivers deserve attention as much as passengers suffering from structural vulnerability and health inequalities. 
I also came across Elizabeth Lo's breathtaking documentary short film composed of experiences during a week of riding Hotel 22.  She captures an argument between passengers and it reminds me of the strife that can so quickly flare up as I monitor the homeless shelter.  The raw footage of human weariness is compelling.  It reminds me that we must See the Traveler if we want our light to shine like the noonday.  

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