Danny's Diary: A vote for getting clean and being productive
Opinion / 17 April 2019, 12:47pm / Danny Oosthuizen
On May 8, we homeless will once again not be joining you in the voters' queue.
There was a slight possibility - if we were not chased from pillar to post by the powers that be.
As long as one could prove where you live, you could register. Like, for example, "the red shack on Main Road, next to the post office".
The Dignity Project turned three this month. Memories are bitter-sweet. Looking back we still don't have toilets at night. Drinking water is still an issue, as is public storage.
It has become so dangerous outside that it is one of the reasons why there are so many of us sleeping in front of the police station.
The space in Culemborg proved many doom prophets wrong. It is most of the time fully occupied.
How awesome would it be if we could create a space for our street children. A place to sleep, eat, play and learn to read and write away from adults.
There are some homeless who use children to skarrel. It hugely upsets me. To think there are parents who never reported them missing is beyond me.
On Saturday, I went for a walk up the mountain with the ouens. Next minute someone decided to smoke a button (mandrax).
When you hear the sound of broken glass you automatically assume what is going on. It is one of the most primitive drugs around.
Imagine: broken-bottle top filled with a mixture of tobacco and weed, then the "cream" (mandrax powder). You light it with a match and the smoke cloud is so big you simply cannot hide it. Like an atomic bomb.
How can you go hide under a bush? And the smell sticks to your clothing. The whole operation got sabotaged when it started to rain. Needless to say, those who were stubborn to stay behind while the rest of us ran down the hill in search of cover came down minutes later soaked to the bone.
It was a good time to reflect on how some of us need to re-evaluate what we do with our lives. A mind-shift on something more positive and uplifting.
Some guys just can't understand when you are responsible and committed to your job.
Late nights and drug use are no longer an option.
Been there, done that.
It took hard work and support from people who really cared about me to change my ways - to get up at six in the morning, sober and clean, going to work to be productive.
Yes, I had a few relapses, but the bottom line is I knew my challenges, warning signs and could do harm reduction. And I could see the difference in me. And I liked the new me.
I spend more time by myself in nature. I bought clothing and eat decent meals.
I am slowly saving up for a three-day cruise to nowhere in January.
* Danny Oosthuizen is the ambassador of #TheDignityProject. In his weekly column for the Cape Argus he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.