As I was about to cross the road in front of Flinders street station I noticed his sign.

He wasn’t asking for money, instead the request was for work like tiling, gardening and painting.

As we chatted I discovered he had no offers so far that day but was still keeping hope.  This big man in his warm blanket poncho seemed to be in fairly positive states of mind as he shared his past and present life conditions with me.

He had slept the previous night behind the Matthew Flinders statue at the side of the church. Captain Flinders was an English navigator and cartographer and was the leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia, identifying it as a continent. 

Known as ‘The Russian’ on the streets, he took me on a meandering journey of  various phases of his life that involved time in the army in Russia, as a family man, as an owner of a Swiss chalet and back here again to his immediate need to find work and stay warm in the Melbourne winter.

As I prepared to leave I asked if he would like to choose a Buddha from my little bag.

His eyes fell immediately on a tiger’s eye Buddha. He said, ‘This one speaks to me.’

He was pleased it had a small hole so he could thread it onto the necklace he owned. 

Buddha donated by Wendy, Emerald Australia.