Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Homeless in America: Alphonso

Alphonso, Oklahoma City, OK 2012
Photo by Al Griffin

I first met Alfonso as I walked down the alley behind the bus station at sunrise. He and his friend, Salvador, were reading an open Bible and earnestly discussing the text they had chosen. 

As I approached them, Alfonso asked if I owned the building where they were sitting. Salvador’s English was heavily accented, but good, and Alfonso's carried little accent even though the patterns and rhythms were Spanish when he spoke. 

Alfonso was born in a village near Mexico City nearly 80 years ago. He came to the U. S. as a very young man and worked as a farm laborer traveling with the seasons through the Midwest. 

I would seek him out often just to listen when he talked about his native country. He still loves it, but said it has changed so much in his lifetime and not all for the better. He is very proud and happy to be a U.S. citizen, but says he is getting too old to live on the street. 

The last time I talked to him he asked if I could take a picture of him with his shopping cart full of stuff so he could remember it when he finds a real place to live.

Lake Area Camera Club Blue Ribbon Winner
Photo by Al Griffin