We are all human beings

Ammon Hunter
Ammon Hunter
''Ewww! Mummy, what's that?''

''Shhhh! Quiet down, he'll hear you.''

''But mummy, what is it?''

''It's just some washed up bum. Don't go near it, OK?''

''OK mummy.''

The pale old man cringes in his dusty concrete street corner, oblivious to the humans but hurt by their cruel nature.

He takes the insults from those who come by, takes it in deeply, but is somewhat used to the pain.

To him, the world is a swirling pit of despair and depression. His cruel mistress.

So many people pass by showing no pity, no sorrow; some don't even look at him; for his shrivelled, creased face tells a tale almost as old as time.

His worn-out body illuminates the effects and injuries of war and malnourishment.

His withered light-blue eyes, in them a longing for something more, something to sleep in, something to love, something to hold.

All he has is a photo of his young children. If only the accident happened to me - these are the words of a heartbroken father.

The frozen air wraps its long arms around the old man, chiselling his bleached, withered-out skin as his dark grey tattered, ripped clothes are powerless to stop it.

His small blanket is the only thing that's inviting.

The air consumed by smog and fumes forces the sun to filter its sunlight through the grey and white clouds that frown in disgust at the poor man, giving him no nourishing warmth like everyone else who comes by, but only Arctic gusts.

This deprived elderly man wasn't always so depressed and alone.

This man had a life; a life of wonder, joy, excitement and love.

People who pass by judge him, say the most disturbing of things, looking at him and making fun of him when they think he can't hear. But he can.

All he does is hope that this day is brighter and better than the others.

The best days are the generous ones.

For this vagrant human being, just one generous day is enough to extinguish his pain for the slightest second and keep him alive.

The benevolent sound of rattling, a clash of metal to tin, copper to can, paper scrunched and thrown at him or nicely placed inches away from his bare, stone-like feet.

The faces of former presidents and leaders shining, looking into the distance and also at the ancient man.

The money; the spare change being tossed, some days there is no sweet sound of rattles and chinks, just footsteps and faces of repugnance.

Those are the worst days, but for this sorry soul, he's gone through worse.

He survives from those who have something to give or someone who knows what being homeless feels like.

An estimated 100 million people are homeless worldwide.

Fathers, mothers, children - whether they are old or young, have been through what that poor old man had to endure, and the people of their society should do something about it.

- By Ammon Hunter; Year 11, East Otago High School