GENERAL NEWS OPINION TESTIMONY

“Dignity exists, I lived it in the person of Guillaume”

Here is the epilogue of the story of Guillaume, a homeless man I met in Limoges, France. Through this character, true, you will discover with me behind the scenes of a society that no longer accepts his, simply because they are poor. In this year 2018, you will read on my blog, articles that inspire you, that give you a little joy, that you vivify, in short that give meaning to our life.

I left in the company of William without having what I had hoped. He was sad, but he remained zen and equal to himself to the end. I was plunged into incomprehension. What does the word “fraternity” mean in the motto of France, land of human rights? The answer is clear. In this case, nothing.

But beware, this school director is not the prototype of an entire people. Many volunteers, many generous women and men open their hearts and homes to the needy, especially in winter.

Love exists, I found it this Friday in the person of Guillaume. Rejected by his family, abandoned by the society that considers him a marginal “that I can not have in my hotel”, Guillaume, simply held me in his arms, and he said thank you.

I had done nothing to deserve the warmth that came from a man condemned by circumstances to live outside, in a cold that gnaws his energy and grinds his bones.

I was a pilgrim in a foreign country, and Guillaume gave new meaning to my life. The time of an afternoon. He is of a character that commands esteem.

I apologized to him. He understood me. He told me that he understood the situation we were in, regretting that the hotel could refuse to accommodate him because he is marginal.

Like, we had exchanged a few euros before leaving England, I paid the taxi, who was waiting in front of the hotel to bring us to the station. Finding me next to Guillaume in the taxi, gave me more happiness and joy, to make up for the pain that the director of the hotel had inflicted on us.

Then I gave Guillaume some money and he promised me that he would buy a nice hot meal in the evening and the next day. Then we separated. Happy. The meeting with Guillaume made me forget all my troubles. A moment of brotherhood, of being-with-others in the world, as Martin Heidegger said.

For me, Guillaume, is the symbol of the unjust society that has become ours, a society that no longer accepts his family and leaves them outside, to the point of death.

Guillaume is French. He lives in the street. Homeless. It’s called SDF. He and millions of others spend the night in makeshift shelters. And tonight, a hotel in France refused to welcome him. All the expenses were paid.

A few days later, after I returned to London, I learned that another 66-year-old homeless man had died in very cold weather.

It has made the soul in the very heart of the capital of France. The incident occurred in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Champs Elysees, the most beautiful avenue in the world and the Elysee Palace, the center of power in France.

So ends the story of William, the homeless Limoges you have read throughout this week on www.nshimiyimana.com . Thank you.

Venuste Nshimiyimana

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