I adore Anna. She is always full of positive energy especially considering she lives in a tent homeless near Downtown Los Angeles. You may remember we featured Anna cooking for the Echo Park Lake homeless community in our mini-doc. Anna is always helping others, and you can tell she loves Jesus!
I spent a lot of time in Echo Park Lake. Each time, I would ask Anna if I could interview her, and each time she said no. To my surprise, on my last visit, Anna came up to me asking if I would help her tell her story.
I lived in Los Angeles for over 30 years and regret I never learned how to speak another language. Anna and I do the best we can to communicate, but there are obvious gaps in our communication.
Anna cleans houses. She says she makes enough for a single apartment, but the truth is often homeless people will rationalize why they are sleeping outside. The brain is very powerful. The brain has to think one of two thoughts: either the world hates me and I am worthless, or I like to be homeless. Anna has found community and purpose in Echo Park with other homeless friends.
I may be projecting here, but in the middle of the video, Anna started to let down her guard a little. Anna is a strong woman, but living in a tent on the streets of Los Angles is hard on everyone. As a homeless woman, Anna has seen things and experienced unthinkable things, and no one should be living without adequate housing.
Anna ended the interview by saying she is hoping that God and more work will get her an apartment. This is slightly different from what she said earlier, which shows there were communication barriers between us. Anna’s last wish was to go home to El Salvador. She talked about money, yet I thought that was strange. Even a few sentences earlier, Anna said she didn’t want money, so I asked her to explain a little better after the interview. Anna is waiting for her son, which now helps make context to more of her story.
There have been a bunch of videos posted on YouTube showing the tents in Echo Park Lake. What’s missing is there are people in those tents who have no place else to go. Anna is one of those people.