Success – an update on Amjed

This is just a quick post to let you know that Amjed got a job 🙂
I cannot express how happy I felt when he told me. It was just one more way the universe was reinforcing how anything possible if you believe. I had been told by some people that he would have to go home,back to Pakistan as there were too many obstacles in the way of him successfully obtaining a job and living a nice life here. In fact, at a loss for a better solution, I suggested it to him myself but he was determined to stay and find work, probably because he didn’t have the luxury of that option. And his optimism and determination paid off. When I met him the other day he was armed with a big book, a phrase book with each page divided into three columns- Spanish, English and Urdu. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair, he decided to spend his time wisely by teaching himself not one, but two new languages, to better prepare himself for the future life he just knew he would succeed in creating here. I felt so proud of him. Witnessing his difficult journey, even from a safe distance, really taught me a lot. It showed me that alot of people would rather look away for fear the poverty of others will make them feel bad. I learned that most people will assess the risk to their own lives first before attempting to help others and in fact, perhaps enter the situation with scepticism as well as caution. Imagine if we saw the world for what it really is, that we are all an extension of one another, therefore to create a better world for ourselves we must help those in need. We cannot receive what we first don’t give.
One of the positive elements I will retain from this experience is that more than ever I realise how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, a family who loves me and supports me and enough to eat every day. It has reinforced for me how we are always in the right place at the right time if we believe it. I am glad I was in the park that day and that I didn’t just walk away when I was being ‘bothered’ by a stranger. I am glad I trusted myself and my instincts and didn’t listen to people suggest that perhaps it was a scam or that I was being taken advantage of. We all have an energy system of intuition inside, available at all times to protect us and guide us in the right direction, hence I had no such negative or doubting thoughts.Amjed showed me that you can always achieve what you want, if you persevere and stay positive. I don’t know if I’ll meet him in the park anymore but that’s ok. Everyone comes into our lives for an unknown period of time to teach us a lesson, about life or about ourselves. I wish him all the best in his new life. X

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Amjed. Giving homelessness a name and a face.

Please click on this link first to watch this short video of a beautiful act of generosity.

Homeless man receives home

Having watched the video of this generous act of kindness initiated by one that dramatically changed the life of another, I was overwhelmed by emotion and a feeling deep inside me, wanting to help some one like that. It was less than an hour later , while I was sitting in the park, happily reading my book, when I was approached by Amjed. In my peripheral vision I saw him approach but I kept my head down not wanting to be disturbed. He spoke to me. I pretended not to hear. ‘Hola,’ he said again, and this time I looked up. He sat down beside me, much to my dismay and struggled to find words to communicate, not surprisingly, as Amjed is from Pakistan.

My initial reaction was to politely nod and smile and return to my book but then I saw the emotions and sadness across this strange mans face as he rambled unintelligibly and pointed to his dust covered shoes. I could see he needed some one to talk to, some one to listen, some one to be his friend so I put the book away and gave him my full attention.
Amjed, came here to Barcelona 12 days ago. I met him on the 5th day. Having lost his nice office job in Pakistan due to the company closing, he received a phone call from a fellow countryman living in Barcelona, offering him a job. With all his savings, he booked a one way flight, said goodbye to his mother and two sisters and off he went in search of a new life, one that could support him and his family in Pakistan. Upon his arrival, the number of his friend was disconnected and he has no other contact information for him and so he is alone with no friends here in Barcelona.
This exchange of information was mostly conveyed through the use of body language and hand actions as his level of English is minimal and Spanish is non existent. He showed me a photo of his family and his home in Pakistan. He explained that he has no papers to work here and despite spending all day walking around Barcelona in search of work, he is unable to find a job as he has no legal rights to work here and cannot speak Spanish. I gave him the number and address of the Pakistan embassy here which were closed for the weekend so I told him to ring on Monday, hoping that they could speak to him in Urdu, his own language and assist him in finding work. He was so grateful he cried and I hugged him. It was obvious he hadn’t had the luxury of a shower in a while but I let him hug me as long as he wanted and tried to send him calming positive energy and strength to get him through this tough time. I wanted to help so much more but felt a bit helpless so I tried convincing myself that listening to him and talking to him had already helped him feel less alone in this unfamiliar city of strangers. I gave him hope.

Almost a week later, today, I met him again in the park. He had been unsuccessful in his attempt to receive help from the embassy. I asked him would he just go back to Pakistan but he explained that there are no jobs there and he doesn’t have the money to go home. He had rang his mother to tell her there are no jobs here and she cried. He said he has walked and walked in search of a job but I understand that it is near impossible to get a job here if he doesn’t have the language skills to even ask for a job. His money ran out quickly and he is now sleeping in the park beside my apartment and a local shop is letting him keep his bag there. My heart is struggling with the sadness of his situation,wanting to help, but not sure how. I decided I would start by teaching him English and today, in his little milka chocolate notebook, we started with some greetings and the questions. He was eager to learn and picked it up quickly, although it was a little funny explaining the words I and you, while pointing to myself and then him, making him think he should use the word you for himself and I for me! We spoke (tried to) for ages and he told me he is good at bowling and he showed me a little game you play with your hands, again, reinforcing his poor background where they entertain themselves with nothing but their hands.

I spoke to a Spanish employee lawyer today, that informed me legal work rights can only be given to people who prove that they have been here illegally for three years and have integrated well into the Catalan society. What options does that leave for my poor friend Amjed? I could just appease myself with thoughts that I’ve done what I can to help and there’s nothing else I can do, but I cannot. This is a lovely man with a gentle soul, who has fallen victim to unfortunate circumstances. I have always wanted to make the world a better place and I feel that the universe orchestrated it so that our paths would cross so I can help him. He is not begging or stealing, nor has he ever asked me for anything, but I wonder how long until homelessness results in those desperate measures and will he become one of the many people I see every day searching the rubbish bins on the streets of Barcelona?

I would really appreciate any advice in how I can help or what I should do to help this man get back on his feet. I know he would work harder than anyone I know and really deserves to be helped.