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It's 04:30 in the morning and I find myself in front of my PC. For some reason I can’t sleep. It could be that I have a million things running through my mind and a thousand questions. A thousand questions I want to ask Patrick and Michelle, my two street kids/adults. I finally managed to get to talk to them yesterday and I was befuzzled by their approach to my questioning. At first I thought they didn’t want to but as they stood there quickly discussing their approach making the decision to talk or not I couldn't help but feel a certain kind of anger/disappointment. They decided it was fine, came closer, I introduced myself and before I could even ask them anything they came out and said “all of us standing by the robots begging for money are heroin addicts”. Well thanks for running ahead and answering question number 57 on my list and completely throwing me of my game. But as we carried on talking abt things I got to ask my few questions and hopefully got them answered as honestly as possible.
Michelle recently turned 33, 20th of August, and Patrick has his birthday coming up on the 25th September. He’ll be 31 then. Both of them are from Cape Town area. Edgemead and Tableview respectively so it’s not like they come from shitty areas either.
How they ended up in PE is another story well get to eventually. How they ended up on the streets forms part of that story. So let’s start at the beginning…well as close to it as I could get yesterday.
For Patrick it was a simple thing to answer “my mom said she couldn’t take care of me anymore so I dropped out of school at the age of 16” grade 10 or std 8 as most of us would know it. From there he was on his own as according to him his family didn’t want to take him in. He’s had various jobs as a waiter, salesman, carpenter (which he enjoyed a lot and evidently also was his last job before ending up on the streets of PE) he was a tik addict when he and Michelle met and she admitted to not trying to help him when they met. Instead she joined in the “fun” and now sits in the same position as Patrick. A heroin addict. It didn’t just happen, it took a bit of time, she was 23 and he was 21when they started dating. They had a life, a cat, a dog, a house….jobs…. stayed on a small holding out of town and it wasn’t all that easy to just quickly zip into town for a hit. So at the time they could control their habit a little. Things took a turn for the worse when the farm they stayed on got sold and they were forced to move. Their cat died, the dog got run over and in a short time a lot of precious things got lost and the transition from drug user to addict happened quickly. Losing everything wasn’t the reason for their upgrade in drug use. They moved into town and it was a lot more accessible than earlier so they started to use more and more….. Unfortunately the high wasn’t good enough so “better” drugs was tried and tested….and here we are again….Heroin….. Probably the worst drug out there “we didn’t ever think we’d ever use heroin but before we knew it we were hooked”
“We don’t smoke it, we inject it”