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Life Lessons From Bayview/Hunter's Point

I sat down with Ms. H. to get acquainted before touring her home to determine whether or not the nonprofit organization I was representing could help her with any of her housing needs She helped me far more.

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Written by DeletedUser

Ms. H. is suffering from terrible osteoarthritis. She wears a back brace. Every single day. Ms. H. lives by herself, as Mr. H. passed away many years ago. Ask her how she's doing, and you'll likely hear, "oh I'm fine dear, just fine," tell-tale long I's of a southern belle softening and warming every word.

Despite the pain she experiences, and despite the reality that she now lives alone, Ms. H. is generally upbeat, happy, contented.  How does she manage to stay positive? 

Her answer:

"You gots to have your ladies around you, ya know?" 

"There are seven of us girls, we all go to the same church, ya see."

"We call each other almost every single day."

"Etta, now you turn off that television, get yourself up, and get dressed.  It's time to go to church."

"Etta's depressed, see.  I think it's because she stays home by herself watching TV most days, but I suppose maybe she does that because she's depressed, I don't know which comes first."

"But we all call her anyways, we get her up and out of that dark house of hers as much as we can.  Ain't easy though, no ma'am."

"You got to have a social circle around you.  A community.  A church.  Good friends."

"You can't sit around by yourself all day, in your robe and slippers.  That there is a self-fulfilling prophecy, can ya see?"

"I'm happy because I keep myself active.  Keep moving.  Get out of the house.  Go to church.  Call my ladies."

"When my husband died, my church, they were everything to me.  They were right there for me.  The only ones."

"Get yourself a community now, ya hear me?  Call your girlfriends.  Never stop.  You hearing me?"


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This is terrific, Jen! Etta has her group of friends to look out for her when she gets low and feels the urge to just sit at home by herself. How do we create these connections for people that don't belong to a church and don't have such an important circle of friends or family to support them? How do find them, to begin with? And how do we ensure that, once we find them and connect them, that they stay connected?

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Here in SF this is one way:

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