Sunday, November 09, 2014

Volunteering is no bed of roses

It's always important to be disciplined during any ambassadorial type work and on a dark, wet and cold November night I learnt a harsh but useful lesson in self discipline. 

Zak had gone to get water and as I waited for aktar to drop off the table near our distribution point, an Irishman shouted: "Who you looking at, you dirty fucking nigger?"

I replied straight: "I don't want no trouble mate."

He came up to me with his sidekick. My body tensed, sensing things could get physical. The sidekick asked me why I had pots. "It's for homeless guests."

The Irishman retorted: "You don't look homeless." I told him we served homeless people. The sidekick shook my hand. "You're both welcome to a plate!" I offered. 

The Irishman added: "I'm from Belfast and I would never ever trust a black bastard like you. We shoot you lot for fun." The minion shook my hand again and I glanced and was reassured by the blinking CCTV cam above Starbucks. 

I'm very pleased that I didn't take the bait and even raise my voice. It was the right choice, though there is a small voice niggling me for not retaliating. I really hope the fella reflects later and changes his outlook. 

I'm human, and truth is, I was really tempted to chin him one. But I kept repeating that I was an ambassador for One Third Soup Kitchen and I was here to meet my homeless friends and serve them some biriani and chicken curry with chick peas. Community work is not always a bed of roses and you have to take the good with the bad - the smooth with the rough. Thankfully this is the first negative encounter I've had since we started the Soup Kitchen. 

Whilst waiting for the boys to arrive the starving Piotr arrived and helped me set up. He got an extra large plate from the boys. 

Zak and Aktar were excellent company. There were plenty of guests, good banter and chit chat. 

Paul said he had helped himself to a buffet of four plates at The Taste of India at lunch but the aroma was too much and an hour later he too succumbed to a plateful of of magic from Moz's finest home cooked pot. 

The food was mouthwatering and we were left another pair of clean dishes. Plenty guests talked to us and a group of shoppers from Hackney said they were inspired to start their own Soup Kitchen after a long chat with the three of us. 

One Third Soup Kitchen runs every Saturday. Please pop in and say hi if you're around. 

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