Tuesday, August 2, 2016

July Breakfast

Sunday morning, July 10, the day was bright and warm, perfect for serving a hot meal. It had been over a month since I’d been to the encampment we’ve been serving breakfast for eight months. Father’s Day I was overseas. However, I saw the lovely photos and heard about the Moroccan chicken and stewed potatoes, along with the beef links, banana bread and red beans and rice, oh and the boiled eggs and coffee. Jovelyn wasn’t with us this morning, with a surprising dish, but Delene was back and she and I joined the crew which included her husband, Kwalin, along with Tabaji and Wanda R.

We pulled up about 8 a.m. and before we could set up, the word was getting around that we’d arrived and had breakfast and coffee and water. People woke up. Wives got breakfast for husbands and husbands got breakfast for wives. For those who couldn’t walk, we took breakfast to them.

After the plates were packaged. Delene, Kwalin and I walked the neighborhood giving meals to those people in tents nearby or just in the vicinity. One man woke his sister. The neighbors were sleeping really soundly and at 8 a.m. a few people passed on the meal for more sleep. For those who woke up, they ate breakfast in bed and then returned to sleep on a full warm stomach.

I felt the peace and content solitude when I returned to the first encampment to pick up my car about 10:30 a.m.  It was quiet and people were sleeping again.

There had been more dumping of debris—corners filled with trash and distasteful piles of junk, a eyesore no one wanted to look at each day.  The city needs to pick up the trash and garbage dumped in public spaces. The people living here had cleaned the area.  We didn’t have garbage bags or pinesol this time, but folks had been doing what they could to make their space hospitable and welcoming.

Delene and I kept walking and ended up on Wood Street where we shared breakfast with a few people stirring at 9:30-10 a.m. There was a roped off area where people once had tents which was the site for sewage work. The 72 hour notice, posted June 14, was still on the fence.

Obviously, the words “vacate,” meant just that.

Everyone at the first site met us on Wood Street where we roused those who were away and stirring. Delene and I had run out of food and coffee, so our reinforcements were able to fill more plates and cups with coffee. I was disappointed Darlene wasn’t up that morning. She loves black coffee with her cigarette and I wanted to save her the walk up the block.

We piled into our cars and drove further up the block to another section of Wood Street where people were in cars, campers, trucks and other semi-permanent housing—It looked really good.  Sheila, who calls herself the spokesperson for the group helped us serve the meals. Everyone was happy to get breakfast. Many served were clearly hungry, really hungry.  Wanda and Tabaji fixed plates with beans and rice, and it was welcomed. We served more than 50 people, probably more like 60-70 that morning.

We had coffee left over, and I took it to Lakehurst hotel in Oakland whose residents do not have meals on the weekend.  Lisa and I took lunch by a couple of weeks ago. The residents are mentally ill or have cognitive challenges.

The Auset Movement chose this weekend to serve the residents, because we’d been told the people would be getting a 72 hour NOTICE TO VACATE Wednesday, July 13, 8:30 a.m. We wanted to give them a heads up and tell them not to worry or panic.

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