Slama’s philosophy on life is simple: “You can lose your house and your valuables, but you should learn to hold yourself and keep yourself.”
She has been homeless for fifteen years and wakes up every weekday morning at 6:30 am to come to Wellspring.
“If you are kind and gentle to another person, you can get a necklace full of gems,” she said. “When I come to Wellspring I do just that. I am kind and gentle to people.”
“Wellspring is a place of warmth,” she said. “If the choice you’ve chosen isn’t a good one, they don’t judge you. You can come in and they feed you. If they can help you, they help you.”
Slama’s basic needs are rarely met. She sleeps outside and carefully plans her bathroom trips. She carries dirty articles of clothing in her coat pocket until she can find a place to wash and dry them. She recently broke her foot and walks across town in a surgical boot. Her other foot is in a sandal; it is rough and cracked from being exposed to the cold.
“I need a bath, I need to wash some clothes, I need to oil my foot and I need a pair of socks,” she said.
Wellspring helps her by providing hygiene products, including sanitary pads.
“It is lifting and I am thankful,” she said. “I wish I could go out to the store and buy a bag of pads and bring them here to say thank you. Every time someone does something for you, it tugs at your heart because life is more precious when you do the day with everything that you need.”
Slama dreams of a life with romantic love and domestic solace. She wants a man to sweep her up her feet and to give her the strength to leave her memories of homelessness behind her.
“I want a husband who I can run into the house with and be happy with,” she said. “I keep praying to Allah to help me forget what I am going through now if that happens.”
During our interview, she saw a stuffed bear with a Wellspring t-shirt on it that she wanted to hold at night. She explained that she has no one to call in the middle of the night – not even a sister and this bear would would make her feel less alone.
Still, she is thankful for her life right now.
“When I speak about my God, I want to cry because he has taken care of me,” Slama said.
“Every journey that I’ve been through, I could say that my Allah did it because other places and other people needed the warmth,” she said. “One day, a woman at Loaves and Fishes looked at me and said, ‘You know, you inspire me. A lot of women come here and they have cars and homes and they are strong, but within a certain amount of time, they lose everything. You’ve been homeless for so long and it’s as if you became homeless yesterday. You are still strong. You are still doing well.’”