I met Christopher in a homeless camp in downtown Nashville. He was helping a homeless friend move from one location to another. His friend had to move as the grounds he was on were about to be cleared to make way for a future golf course. I gave Christopher and his homeless friend a ride to a new area to setup camp.
Christopher moved to Tennessee at a young age from Ukraine. He told me, “One thing I remember about Ukraine, everything is a lot slower than it is in America. Everything is not as fast paced and crazy.” The 34-year old said that Ukraine residents are friendlier when compared to Americans, but the country lacks opportunity, which is why he and his father moved to America.
Drugs in Ukraine are “Nonexistent,” according to Christopher. He told me about the lack of drugs as we were driving through an area of Nashville where drugs are prevalent. I asked, “Was it an eye opener for you to come to America and see all of the drugs on the street?” His response was a head nod and “Yes.”
Christopher has maintained a small efficiency apartment for the past five years in Nashville. His father lives in a small country setting about 60-miles West of Nashville. Prior to Christopher having his own place, he was homeless.
I asked, “What was it like being homeless?” He said, “Well the biggest thing is, you gotta’ be willing to claw, scratch and fight your way out of what you’re in. Never give up. You are always gonna’ find something better in the end. Keep fighting and you are eventually going to end up having a bout of good luck and it’s gonna’ end up getting you out of where you’re at.”
Christopher is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree from MTSU. Every day, he rides a bus from Nashville to Murfreesboro in hopes of someday being in the Cyber Security field.
“Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” – Dr. Stephen Covey