The Friday sigh becomes a ride

There’s no such thing as “just another day” at the Society of St. Vincent DePaul’s downtown Oakland campus. Every day contains new faces, stories and yesterday, a new thing–spit.

I left work yesterday and a few blocks in was confronted with an unprovoked loogie from a disheleved looking woman who appeared to have been recently released from the hospital. With AIDS being rampant in this area, thankfully the majority of it landed on my backpack and skirt. I was too shocked to say anything else but “thank you?” before speedily walking across the street and into a restaurant to clean up.

Just over a month since starting, working at SVdP has become a sort of love-hate dichtomy. I love the duties that come with being a case worker and serving some of Oakland’s most vulnerable, but I hate the extreme desperation and need that I’ve witnessed everyday in all kinds of degree. Yesterday as I listened and read the paperwork for a woman who was beat a coma lasting two months by her husband last year. Now she and her seven children finally found decent housing after losing everything. A petition was filed for St. Vincent de Paul to do a home visit for further assessing the mother and her children’s needs, from furniture to paying off hospital bills.

Given the absolute horror of this woman’s case, I usually don’t have time to completely absorb. Before I know it, I’m on to another case. Thankfully this time it was  the good news of a Culinary alumnus, finally, after a 2 year wait, having her ticket drawn for Section 8 Housing.

But at last it’ Friday, and the last Friday of the month at that, which means my first bike ride ever in SF’s Critical Mass.

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