Wednesday, November 28, 2018
On almost every major intersection in Albuquerque, I see pan handlers, usually with signs asking for help. Hand written on cardboard, often misspelled with the writing getting smaller as it gets closer to the bottom, they are missives wanting us to know that they are hungry, cold, disabled, and sad. They look to make eye contact with us as we wait for the light to change, hoping that we will roll down our windows and hand them some money. Not far away, on the corner, their metal shopping carts sit patiently, filled to overflowing with blankets, sleeping bags,clothes and who knows what else one needs to survive without a home. At night, the panhandlers in our area are gone, headed for the Bosque, the dense cottonwood forest along the Rio Grande River, to set up camp. If they are unlucky, someone will call the police and while they are panhandling, their tents and sleeping material will be swept away, so that even that temporary home will be gone. They will need to find another place in the Bosque, that hopefully won't be raided as they stand in the cold, or sun, or wind waiting for something to make their lives a little better.