Wednesday, 15 November 2017

her North End

I was invited into a dear friends' life yesterday. We walked through her North End in Halifax. For over 20 years, her small core team has provided a funky and warm drop-in centre for travelling and homeless youth. The Ark on Gottingen street is filled with stories and memories. They are laden with sadness, escape, violence, drugs, sickness, dreams, music, life and death. I learned that some youth saw themselves as travellers, passing in and out of safe spaces in different cities. Others were fleeing violence and homeless. Most of these stories were illustrated in the art prints that decorated every inch of wall space. Silent voices lamented in the quiet of the recording studio downstairs. And, pleas for any type of help were displayed in the cardboard poster 'gallery' in the laundry room. The cozy 'bedroom' has allowed several people to lay their head down briefly and experience warmth, safety and hope. This little room also has served as a no-strings-attached part-time primary care clinic to many youth who have no paperwork. No birth certificates = No health card = No access to health care. 
It's funny, I left Ark feeling heavily light. I had no idea. I just had no clue. That space is pulsing with pain and beauty. 
I don't know what street life is like. I don't know what fleeing violence as a child is like. I don't know what it means to have friends overdose or contract Hep C. I don't know what it feels like to sleep in abandoned schools. I just...don't know. But, I do know that Ark exists and so many lives of our youth are at risk. Right here. In Halifax. In the north end. 


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