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This is Debbie’s story.
My mom and I moved here from Norfolk, Virginia, when my dad committed suicide.
I worked for 12 years then started using.
God sent me a message to quit using drugs –
and I quit. I’ve been clean for five years. I don’t want to go back to that.
Right now I’m taking care of Harold, a guy who’s got cancer. I sleep on his porch and make sure he’s all right. I first met Harold when my boyfriend, Will, and I lived in one of his rental apartments. He was always very nice to me.
When Will and I broke up, Harold was sick.
Even though he had his own problems he worried about me sleeping on the streets. It’s not safe – you understand what I’m saying? A lot of people get beat up, get their stuff robbed,
and a lot of women get raped. It’s bad to be out there alone.
Harold said I could sleep on his porch if I could help take care of him. He and his family helped me set up a bed on cinder blocks. He even bought me a refrigerator so I could keep food and cold drinks in it. He lets me cook inside his house. You know, it’s really just microwave meals but it’s something. I even cook one for him sometimes. He can hardly swallow; he’s on a feeding tube. But he likes to chew things up just to get the taste of it. He takes chemo, and it makes him vomit. I clean everything up. I give him his medicine every 3 or 4 hours and his liquid food in the feeding tube. I’m there for him 24 hours a day. He pays me $8 or $10 a day.
Harold’s really bad now. I just wish he could be better. I wish he could enjoy his life, maybe go on a vacation, get a girlfriend and go out to eat. You understand what I’m saying? I just wish he could enjoy things.
I don’t think he will live much longer. I don’t know where I will go when he dies. I’m doing this because God told me it’s the right thing to do. I’m grateful. Harold took care of me and wouldn’t let me stay on the street, and now I’m taking care of him. I know I’ll be rewarded someday. I just hope I don’t have to live outside. It’s nice having my own little space even if my home is a porch.