Our travels today took us unexpectedly into Alabama two different times.

We met back up with David, the homeless gentleman we interviewed yesterday. We wanted to follow him with our cameras to where he usually goes on a typical day. He led us down across the river into Crimson Tide country, under a bridge where he goes to escape the unforgiving Georgia/Alabama sun.

We had given him a bottle of water to drink. After he finished the water, he casually said, “This bottle can be my pillow for the night.”

We then trekked back to the Homeless Resource Network, where we interviewed a couple who was recently housed. They spent several years on the streets. The lady has a master’s degree and said it took her about two years to finally admit to herself that she was homeless. 

Then, we made a trip to the corner of a parking lot behind a bar in Phenix City, Alabama. That’s where we found Wilma.

She had invited us up to her tent the day before. She was reluctant at first but wanted to do something for the Homeless Resource Network because they have given her so much help in the past. We found her washing her clothes in a bucket. 

“He gives me a reason to get up in the morning.”

Spike, the dog, wasn’t entirely sure about our team’s presence around the tent. But with some coaxing and a few pets, he soon realized there was no threat to his mom.  So, on we went with the interview.

This bike below is Wilma’s primary means of getting from one place to another. It’s usually either that or walking. At her age, she was quick to acknowledge this arrangement was getting harder on her bones with each passing day. 

“One morning, I woke up, and I felt like the whole entire world was sitting right on top of my shoulders.”

“Not being able to help myself the way I used to, now that really hurts my feelings.”

She saw us off with a hug and a thank you.

It strikes me every time someone thanks me for capturing their story. Those are words I get quite often. Sometimes I wonder how long it has been since someone sat down with many of the people I interview and asked them how they feel about things. It seems we all, as people, have an innate need to be heard. 

We headed back to the hotel to turn in early. Atlanta awaits us in the morning.