My name is Michael and I was born in Zimbabwe, son of Irish mother and Scottish father. At the age of 18 I went to South Africa to live with my brother who works for a company that exploited gold in a mine. I worked there for eight years and then I went back to Zimbabwe. In a country like that, with such a magnificent and dazzling nature, I started taking pictures of the wildlife and to work on it. 

Then I went to New Zeeland where I lived for two years, until I returned to my country. There I was for years until the political situation and the financial crisis in Zimbabwe increased. In 2008 there was a major inflationary crisis in which the inflation rate reached 230,000,000%, the highest in the world. As a result, the Zimbabwe dollar was replaced by the US dollar and the economy collapsed. The country suffered the most serious food crisis in its history due to the invasion of the farms of small producers and the cost of poor local production. What brought as a consequence a very intense social and humanitarian crisis. 

In that context and with my two deceased parents, I had to leave my country and look for the future elsewhere. When I left Zimbabwe I took few things with me and I was able to travel by hitchhiking: Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda. That walk through deep Africa taught me many things, but above all, my way of thinking changed a lot. I think everything that I saw and felt there helps me a lot now that I am homeless, to see things differently. When you are on the street you see that people who live in that situation are very concerned about small things, discuss and get angry and fight for trivial things, like who stole a glass or just to fight under the influence of drugs and alcohol. But once I saw and felt how people suffer in Africa and how man is capable of doing to others, I was never the same. Some people tell me that I'm cold, I think I have more tolerance for things that are not important to me. 

After that experience, I returned to Europe: there I worked and lived in France and Germany for more than a year. Then I did the same for Asia and Latin America. Until I settled in UK to work: first in Cornwall and then Devon. There I worked in hospitality, always with accommodation. My last job was stationary in Devon and when the session ended, I was out of work and without lodging. That's why I arrived in London in November. I came with enough money to pay the first, of lodging in a hostel while I was looking for a job, but I did not find a job and I ran out of money. I have 54 years and finding a job at my age is not easy. That's why I started sleeping on the street for the first time.  

I found a place with a roof in London Bridge and there I slept for a month, it was hard, because it is very cold and very insecure: there are many drugs and alcohol in that area and I never felt safe. One night while I slept a man started kicking me and spitting on me. Another day my backpack was stolen with all my belongings, including my passport and my phone. On Christmas Eve I found out that there was a shelter when I started searching the internet for homeless services. I went there and they referred me to Seymour Place, where I have been since January. From there I sleep in the Night Shelter while I look for work and a home. I am lucky to be able to sleep in a safe place, I feel protected and accompanied and that is very important. I had no idea of the whole structure in England to help people who sleep on the street, and thanks to Seymour Place and the job center, I am informed of this and can do things to change my situation and get out of the streets. On Tuesday, I have my first job interview.

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