Funds for Fatima's Family (Update: Goal Reached! Help Amina above!)
Today I woke up, looked at my calendar: 4 protests available for me to attend and promote. I got in my car, headed down the suburban road that brings me to the major freeway that goes towards George Floyd's memorial site. At an intersection I've driven by nearly every day for the last 2.5 years, I saw a woman begging on the corner. This isn't the first time I've seen her. I had noticed her every day for at least the last week. Sometimes she has her kid with her, sometimes not. I have never, ever stopped for someone begging on the corner. I've been told helping people begging doesn't really help them. I don't exactly understand why. But I was told with such authority that with that justification in place, I've righteously passed by every beggar I have seen (I have a feeling there's a better word for them, but I don't know it; educate me, if you know!) Today I pulled over. I had no other plan that to talk to her, see how she was doing, see what kind of help she needed.
Her name is Fatima. She is from Montenegro which is the country behind the heel of Italy. I researched the country while waiting in line at the ATM. You see, Fatima is married and has 1 daughter. She is pregnant with twins. They used to be triplets, but one passed away. They used to live in California, but recently moved out here for a job opportunity that fell through. Her husband is spending his time looking around for work. She is standing at that corner, trying to gather money for their survival. They have a car and a cell phone. Their car is also their home. She pulled out her wallet and showed me the ultrasounds of her twins that she took back in mid-May. I asked her what her most urgent need is right now. She said that they really need money to be able to stay in a motel, even for just a week. I asked her how much a motel for a week would cost. She said $500. I told her I would get it.
I drove away to my bank and waited in line as I researched Montenegro and listened to their national anthem. I withdrew $500 and drove back to Fatima.
Back with her, I gave her the envelope and she burst into tears. She asked if she could hug me. Wearing a mask, we hugged. She said, "I very much believe in god, very, very much. I will pray for you. God is good to me. He gives me no problems, just this one." I told her that we have to support one another. I gave her my number. I told her I don't personally have any money but I am connected to a large community online that wants to help. I told her to reach out if she needed anything. I said I could drive them places if they need to pick up food at a food bank or whatever. I gave her my small bottle of hand sanitizer and connected with a friend who is going to donate some masks to her family.
I was about to leave and Fatima said to me that she loved my name and wants to name her daughter Maria (I think she misheard it, but I'll take it). I didn't know what to say. I wasn't helping her to bring attention to myself. I was helping her because I just realized the other day that she is me.
If you can help me offset the cost of my donation to Fatima's family, please send whatever you can via Venmo (@delephant) or PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org). Any extra money will be set aside for future potential opportunities to help our fellow humans. May be Fatima or may be other folx I meet while out in the streets. I will be transparent on this blog about who I help and how much I give so that I remain accountable to you all.
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