As I brought a copy of the Big Issue off the woman sitting on the crate just near Bourke St mall I couldn’t help but notice her jewellery .
Statement rings garlanded every finger and many necklaces shared the space peaking above her jumper rim. It was easy to start a conversation about these bold pieces that she wore so proudly. She told me she called them her ‘heroin jewellery.’ She was so pleased she had money to these days to spend on these second hand treasures, money that in the past would have been spent on drugs.
She had been drug free for years and now made her living selling the magazine. It was a job she loved because it connected her back to the community she knew when she lived on the streets. She felt it allowed her to “keep an eye on them- especially the young and vulnerable.”
She now lived in a house with her husband and from what I could gather they had a simple and happy life.
When I offered her to choose a Buddha she quickly chose what she called ‘ the happy Buddha’.
“ I am attracted to cheerful things.” she said.
As I paid for my magazine she said almost as an aside, “I have an article in this edition.”
And so she did.
I read her wise words from the magazine I had purchased ……
” I gave one old lady who begs for money a bottle of water because that’s what she wanted the money for, and now she tells me she wishes I was her daughter because I cared. And that’s it- I care. So many people feel it’s not their problem so why bother?
But you never know when you are talking to angels. There is such a colourful array of people – I could go on about it all day. They all bring something with them and I am glad I am part of the show. “
Sharon sells the Big Issue in Melbourne
Buddha donated by Khemajoti UK