20130828_homlessness_cleoHappen to see a guy at McDonalds going back to the counter to say that they have got the order wrong after having fully eaten the whole burger. The puzzled look on the operationalised crews’ face sparked off a chain of events such as checking the order in the system, asking detailed question about the original order and wanted to find out if they got the order wrong and if so how did the mistake happen. As a bystander in another queue, it was obvious, the guy simply wanted another burger for free.

I sat down with my daughter Cleo and started to have a conversation about homelessness and this is roughly how it went.

Me: Cleo, do you know what is being homeless?

Cleo: Yah. When you got no place to stay.

Me: Why do you think some people are homeless?

Cleo: Because they never study properly.

Me: For some people maybe, but there are a lot of other reasons too.

Cleo listens on attentively while scooping the Oreo McFlurry into her mouth while looking up at me.

Me: Some might have been very successful businessman, but ended up owing a lot of people money, hence have to sell off their house, cars, everything to pay off those he owe money to.

Cleo nods with understanding.

Me: Some made really bad mistakes and the people in their family and maybe even friends don’t like him anymore and kicked him out of the house.

Cleo nods with understanding and you can see she is thinking.

We went on having our afternoon snack with Clara trying to sleep on my arm after a tiring afternoon of gymnastics.

Me: Cleo. Do you think its worse being homeless or being in jail?

Cleo stopped scooping her ice cream and started thinking about her new understanding of being homeless.

Cleo: Jail is better.

Me: Why?

Cleo: Because at least there is food there and also some place to sleep.

I smiled at the answer in my heart. Not because I think thats the right answer, but because she made an honest logical conclusion herself.

Me: So do you think its nice to be homeless?

Cleo: No.

I’m glad we spent that afternoon together.

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