Monday, August 01, 2005

AIDS on the Street, Madrid

Today, I found success in all of my errands, although the extension to my microphone cord proved to be elusive to find. Ultimately, after spending the morning visiting every high-tech camera and audio store I could find, I ended up locating what I needed in El Corte Inglés, a department store kind of like Target or Galléries Lafayette. Now, having sorted out that issue, I have not found anyone else to interview today, although I attempted. The spotty rain we are having could have played a part in this, though.

I ended up deciding to seek out an internet café and found one near my hotel (someone disabled cookies on the hotel computer, and it now locks me out of all my email programs!). I caught up on my email near the Plaza de Sevilla, and then headed back to my hotel for a siesta.

A few blocks from the internet cafe, I found a man sitting beside a building on the ground with a sign saying that he was sick with AIDS and homeless. It immediately caught my heartstrings to imagine myself in his place and I stopped, squatting down to talk with him and to place my hand on his shoulder. So often, we long for human touch of any kind. In my best Spanish, I told him that I too am living with HIV/AIDS and that it has been 20 years for me. I think I wanted to give him hope. He told me that it had been four years for him. He smiled at me and told me that I looked healthy and we shared a moment of encouragement for one another. He wanted to know about my medications and I told him that I take around 25-30 pills a day. He shook his head in acknowledgment. I stood up to leave and dropped a Euro in his cup.

When I turned to leave, I noticed the glare of a woman behind me who had watched the event in its entirety and who was apparently stunned by my compassion for this man. I do, indeed, believe him, although I know that many buskers are simply playing us. It is hard when so many people are in need or so many pretend to be, but we must retain a heart, do we not? I wish this poor man well. He seemed truly touched by my small visit. I know that he touched me.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous allan said...

are you going to Grenada?

8/01/2005 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Ron I think that keeping a heart is the only hope left for humanity. And in the end, whether he was telling the truth or not, the Euro was a small sacrifice if it accomplished nothing but to show that woman that at least SOMEONE believed that the guy was still human. Shame on her for just shaking her head, as if it offended her!

8/02/2005 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ron Hudson said...

Hi Allan,
Not this trip...maybe in the future in the fall or spring. I am off tonight for Lisbon to meet Paula and will be there for 2 nights before returning to Madrid for another night.

Ron

8/02/2005 03:38:00 AM  

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