Celestino Arrindell holds up a sign during his 24 hour as a homeless man.
PHILIPSBURG–Videographer Celestino Arrindell decided to go homeless for a day in St. Maarten/St. Martin in an effort to bring awareness about the plight of homeless persons in the country.
Arrindell told The Daily Herald earlier this week that he decided to do this because for him, it was an issue that people shy away from. “People don’t really talk about it and people turn their eye on it, so I decided to focus on this. I also wanted to educate myself on what the homeless go through.”
Arrindell said he began his day, as a homeless person early on October 7, by walking around Philipsburg looking for any homeless person. After a couple of hours, he came across Cimmaron Marlin whom he approached and subsequently interviewed about his plight. Arrindell said many persons do not know that Marlin is homeless. “I initially assumed he was homeless because I saw two dogs following him in town.”
Marlin showed Arrindell his daily routine as a homeless person. Arrindell decided to panhandle to see how receptive people were to persons in need. He made a sign and held it up asking for money for food. The donations he received totaled about US $12, which he gave to Marlin.
Celestino Arrindell with Cimmaron Marlin
Arrindell then visited French St. Martin to see what the situation is with the homeless there. He said while it appeared as though homeless persons in Dutch St. Maarten did not want to be seen, in French St. Martin homeless persons were more visible in public places in broad daylight. “My journey shifted once I got in French St. Martin because it started to get real.”
When night fell, Arrindell said he picked an open spot on the dock to sleep. At one point it began to rain and he had to find another spot. He said someone began to follow him and he decided to walk home. He, however, stopped halfway and slept the rest of the night on a bench near the Jose Lake Ballpark. He got up at 5:00am and headed home. Arrindell videotaped his experience and compiled a video which he posted on YouTube.
The video got 400 shares and 6,000 views on the first day earlier this week. He also received “hundreds of emails” from persons commenting on the situation and from persons who want to help the homeless in St. Maarten. Arrindell said while the experience was an eye opener, it is not something he would do again.
He said the experience taught him that being homeless makes you very susceptible to your surroundings. “You’re out in the open, you have to worry about the weather and you have to find other means to get what you need. It’s also very lonely and unless you’re motivated, there is no way out because you have nothing.”
Arrindell is a St. Maarten born man, who studied abroad and returned home about four months ago. He said he currently works as a content provider for Google.
The 21-minute video entitled “Homeless for 24 hours in St. Maarten” can be watched on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/dabartist.
Source: The Daily Herald Videographer goes homeless for a day to raise awareness