His tent was in complete disarray, his clothing badly soiled and one shoe untied as he crawled to a stance to meet us. He happily greeted us as we walked into his lone campsite. One of the volunteers in our group asked, "Would you like some food?" He pleasantly said, "Sure" while another volunteer leaned down to tie his shoe.
I asked, "How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?" He said, "Well, I was born in 1947." I quickly did the math and said, "67?" He smiled and said, "Yea, I'll be 68 in December."
Before we left I asked if he had any children. He told me that he certainly does. He looked happy as he told me, "They all have houses, so I don't have to worry about them." It was warming, he said it as if he was not concerned about himself, only the fact that his children were all safe and living in homes which allowed him to rest easy. He said that he is working with a group to obtain housing in the near future.
He said that he currently has a girlfriend and wants to marry her after his housing situation is cleared up. Another man overheard him and said, "You ain't getting married again!" He laughed as he talked about how it would be wife number 10. He was in such good spirits even though his current home is a dirty three man tent with a blanket and a stained pillow from an old sofa.
The reality: We have no way of knowing if he really is going to be able to obtain housing. Nor do we even know if he has a girlfriend who will someday be wife number 10. What we do know is that we can go back in the near future and make sure he is okay and has plenty to eat.