As I mentioned in my last post, we have a couple of wonderful interns at The Dale this summer, Olivia and Ahmeda. I have been spending some time with Olivia in particular, showing her the ropes. In the process I have been able to see our day-to-day lives at The Dale through fresh eyes… and have realized anew that sometimes our days are pretty strange!
Take today for example. We had a staff meeting in a noisy coffee shop. That’s normal for us, but not for most organizations. At the end of the meeting, one of the staff people (who we’ve come to know over the many hours per month that we spend having meetings in that particular cafe), asked us what we were up to for the rest of the day. She knows that we run drop-ins throughout the week, and had a box full of ziploc bags full of snacks that she was hoping to give to us. We gladly received them, to then discover (with delight) that they were shaped like butterflies: a painted clothes peg with googly eyes and pipe-cleaner antennae was clipped in the center of each bag, so that the two halves of the bag formed wings. We, as a community, greatly enjoyed these creative snacks while meeting in the park for our Tuesday afternoon drop-in.
Partway through drop-in, a complete stranger came over and asked me to tie his hair into a ponytail using a beaded bracelet. After a moment of language-barrier confusion, I tied his hair into a ponytail with his bracelet, and he went on his way smiling. I guess we looked like a friendly enough bunch, and I had my hair in a low ponytail like the one he was hoping to acquire. So it all worked out great.
Then Olivia and I walked down Queen Street towards the home of a recently hospitalized friend. Our job was to check in on his cats. On the way we were stopped a number of times; once by a friend who was busking, but stopped mid-stanza to say hello and meet Olivia. He asked what happened to my other co-workers, assuming that Olivia was a replacement. When I happily explained that we’ve actually grown to a team of five for the summer, he said “oh, that’s beautiful!” This from a guy who has very little time for organized religion on the whole, but seems to think The Dale is alright.
We were stopped a few steps later by a friend who had just gotten keys to a room in a rooming house- his first place to call home in a very long time. We congratulated him with great joy 🙂
When we finally made it to our destination, we fed a couple of hungry cats, and cleaned out a rather full litter box. We realized, on our way out, that we didn’t know where the garbage bins were located for our friend’s building, so asked some neighbours if we could put our bag (which happened to be full of litter box contents!) into their bin. They agreed, and we went on our way.
Later today we’ll meet up for dinner with some Dale friends at St. Francis Table, where meals are served restaurant-style for $1 (including dessert and coffee!) After dinner, we’ll read a section of the book of John, and discuss it.
All in a day’s work. As strange as these days can be, I wouldn’t have it any other way.