The researcher lived 60 days on the street and decided that he would never give money to the homeless again
Ed Stafford is a former British Army captain, adventurer and traveler. As part of filming a documentary the film “60 days in the streets” he decided on an experiment: he left his son, wife, comfortable home and became homeless for 2 months. Writes about it AdMe.ru.
He had to live in the winter without food, money, shelter and find out why people become vagabonds, how he actually lives on the street.
The problem of homelessness is not unique to low-income countries. By According to for 2018, in the UK there were 320 thousand people who did not have their own home or apartment (approximately every 200th). Moreover, more than half of these people live in London, and many homeless people are former military personnel.
Ed Stafford, now 43 years old, decided to find out how turn out in the streets of his colleagues and other people. To this end, he went to the streets of London, Manchester and Glasgow.
New extreme experience
Earlier ed overcame more than 6,4 thousand km on foot in the Amazon and entered the Guinness Book of Records as the first person to make such a trip. During filming for the Discovery Channel, Ed lived 60 days in isolation on Olorua (a desert island in Fiji) without food, water, clothing, or tools.
There were periods when courage completely left him and he was ready to cry because of any trifle, as well as days when he suffered from unlimited appetite and could not get enough. However, it was the experience of a homeless life that turned out to be the most nervous and frightening for him.
He gained 5 kg in weight
Homeless life was more profitable than Ed thought. Over night he could pick up from 100 to 200 pounds ($ 130- $ 260) - more than the average Londoner gets at work.
He also did not need food: volunteers handed out free burgers and other fast food to the homeless, and obviously in more quantities than was necessary.
In Glasgow, Ed counted 26 volunteers serving food, although there were only two homeless people. One of the strollers even complained that people were simply overfeeding him.
In 60 days, Ed replenished by more than 5 kg. Although he himself expected that he would starve and lose weight. However, analyzes showed that if he continued to eat such fatty foods, he could bring himself to cardiovascular diseases.
However, during the experiment, Ed took a chance and tasted the contents of the garbage can. In one of them, he accidentally found a good salad. However, such a dinner did not give Stafford pleasure: while chewing it, he found inside someone else's chewing gum.
In addition, sometimes Ed had to wash with water from the toilets in the toilets of cafe-bars. Because only in a closed booth it was possible to completely undress and clean the places that were itchy from sweat and dirt.
Earned 100 pounds - and home, under a warm shower
It seemed to him that no one would voluntarily spend the night in the cold, but in reality many tramps preferred the street to a temporary refuge. One of the men in 20 minutes asked beggars from passersby for a dormitory, but spent them on drugs.
Ed was not the only one fake the poor: some, even having their own apartment, went in search of easy money on the streets. They asked for money for housing, and then spent it on drugs or booze.
One of these "homeless people", Darren, claimed that he managed to beg up to 600 pounds from drunken passers-by per night, but usually, having collected 100 pounds, he went to his apartment to have dinner and take a warm shower.
Another fake beggar after getting out of prison got an apartment and at first he was even going to look for work. However, 8 pounds per hour offered by employers did not suit him, and he chose an easier way to get money.
And even real homeless people, according to Ed, need not so much money, but psychological assistance and adaptation. In the end, he came to the conclusion: despite the fact that he was imbued with sympathy for the people around him and even struck up friendships in the streets of London, he would not give money to the homeless, either real or false.
How do people find themselves on the street
Despite all the difficulties of living on the street, by the end of the experiment, Ed already felt some pleasure from complete freedom, the absence of any regimes and restrictions. Nevertheless, he emphasizes that even those who have reconciled with their fate in their hearts do not want to lead a wandering lifestyle.
Some fled to the street from drug addict parents, fleeing violence from relatives, or were homeless due to a difficult situation in childhood. In Manchester, Ed met Dina - the mother of six children.
On words women, she was for a while a model for Debenhams and M&S. Her life went awry from the age of 13 when her parents divorced and she began to live with her addict mother. At 15, Dina fell in love with a guy from whom she gave birth to children. Now her children live with her father, and she herself is forced to flee the cold in a temporary shelter built from old tents and carts.
Despite the fact that the woman is a drug addict, she is very worried about being separated from her children. Dina was glad to share her "home" with the former military and even treated him with cookies.
During his participation in the experiment, Ed had to face aggression and drug addiction, he saw the struggle of two vagabonds for a profitable place, and he was also chased away by the police, threatening to arrest him for collecting alms.
Once, his sleeping bag turned out to be damp, because someone had relieved him. And this was not the worst: some strollers set fire to sleeping bags. And when Ed some time later returned to the place where he spent the night with Dina, it turned out that her temporary shelter had already been removed, and she was not there.
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