Last night, I was under a bridge giving away waters and chatting with any man or woman who wanted to talk. There were about forty people gathered, some smoking crack, others injecting heroin, another sweeping the open areas between mattresses and one playing with the resident (pregnant) cat. Some were playing cards and others were sitting around just talking the way anyone gathered in a small group of friends would do.
And then there were the younger women... not all of them mind you but enough that I noticed. Clothing and jewelry were a notch fancier than they had been in my earlier visit and purses were larger. Some were catching one last smoke of crack or injection of heroin before they left for their first customer. Each one, someone's daughter or sister or aunt or mother...
One of these women - although to be fair, I'm not sure she is prostituting her self - selected several pieces of clothing from my supply and asked if I could hold them until this morning. When I arrived at this community about an hour before church at Urban Hope today, to give these clothes to this young lady who was considering going to church with me, one of her girlfriends was just coming back from her night "at work." She was exhausted and wasted on drugs and/or alcohol.
To protect her anonymity, I've changed this young lady's name. I had not seen her the night before and she introduced herself as the first letter of her name (which, by the way, is also changed).