#Streetsleep for April 12th, International Day of the Street Child

After the build-up and had run back to home for a bit to spend a little bit of time with Kabouter before I'd leave again for my night outside.  Excellent timing as the last big shower washed the streets while I was inside.

Returning to the square, I crossed the sattelite car of the national news broadcast...so we had made the news before we had even started. Check :).

The first sleepers had arrived and were starting to "pimp" their cardboard tent with graffitti to give them a more 'street' feeling. Slowly the wooden pallets got filled with cardboard triangles and backpacks.

Arnoud Raskin, the founder of Mobile School, ready for a meet & greet info session.

Some volunteers volunteered to talk to the press :-)

Jan and Kabouter came to visit and check out why mommy had been away so often lately. Well, if Kabouter could talk, he'd be able to tour Jan around since he'd participated in so many meetings :p.

Jan and Arnoud Raskin watching the news broadcast about ourselves live :)...very meta huh: a picture at an event of watching news about the event :p.

Slowly the night settled. We warmed ourselves with some blankets and fire pits while we were entertained by some rappers from Leuven, a movie on street children in Kinshasa and a little concert by Willow.

By 2 AM I decided to go and try to crawl into my little tent. After a short picture session with my session I tried to curl up on the hard floor and duck inside my 2 sleeping bags which I needed both.  I tried to ignore the sounds of people around the fire pits, the last bit of busses passing by and the talks of people going to bed later on.  I think I dozed a bit between 2 and 3 but between 3 and 4 I was trying hard not to listen to all sounds, not to check the hour on my cell phone etc... After a group of late party goers came to yell a bit at our fences and were asked to leave, it finally became quiet and I was sound asleep between 4 and 7.

When I woke up, I wanted to turn around again as I wasn't fully rested yet at all. But the awareness of/ curiousity of the activity around me, made me peek outside. Right away I noticed a tv crew 2 rows further which made me crawl back deeper in my cardboard: ugh, who wants a camera is his face after sleeping a night on the street??? Not me! 

I noticed everyone still carying little blankets around and blowing little breath clouds, so it seemed much more comfortable to stay as long as possible in my little nest. But after a while my sense of duty to help a bit (and to run to the loo...let's be honest) got me up.  Ugh...it was going to be a loooooong day. After a huge breakfast full of donated food, everyone helped cleaning up and by 10 AM the square was clean and empty again.   I felt a little emotional to see our "beds" disappear in the especially ordered garbage truck. 

We were in the news here (or in English), and here and here (yeah I didn't escape that camera) and here and here and here and here .  

So I hoped we made some impact in some lives...by making people more aware of street children through media or the experience on the street itself. And it also enriched my live volunteering for a good cause. 


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