Tamara was sitting on a bench with a group of homeless people. As I was walking up to introduce myself, I saw Tamara with a big mischevious smile on her face playfully hitting the person sitting next to her. Although living on the streets of Santa Monica for six years, Tamara still maintains a playful spirit.
When I lived in a homeless shelter in Hollywood, a church bus used to pick me up on Sunday mornings. The bus was filled with Russian Armenians who went to church for the free food being offered. Each Sunday I asked them to teach me a little Russian. I can say hello, good day, good morning and a few other short phrases. After meeting Tamara, I wish I had learned more because I would really like to know more about her story.
It’s horrible that anyone sleeps on the streets homeless, but when I see a woman like Tamara that reminds me of my own grandmother my heart breaks. She told me she immigrated here twenty years ago.
I walked around for about another hour after this interview. The night was coming, and it was starting to rain. I saw Tamara heading to an overhang to what I assumed was to find a dry place to sleep. There was another older man already next to the building who I had talked to earlier. He had an extreme mental illness and was intoxicated. I cannot know for sure, but it looked like the both slept in the same area and probably took care of each other. At least that’s what my heart wanted to think.
Although this video is really short and it does not share a lot of details about her story, I felt it was important to post because I wanted you all to see this wonderful and amazing woman who is surviving the streets of Los Angeles County while maintaining a positive and playful spirit. I felt it was also important that you all see the face of homelessness in America, which is not a drug addict holding a cardboard sign but a strong woman who could be anyone grandmother.