In July COH organizer Aaron Scott sat down to interview our new apprentice, Mashyla Buckmaster. Mashyla has been volunteering with us in Westport for close to two years, starting when she herself was experiencing homelessness. She now has a one year-old daughter, Ella, and the two of them recently moved into their very own apartment. Mashyla joined our staff in June and has expanded our free lunch program in Westport to three days per week. She’s represented COH at Diocesan Convention, Popular Education Project gatherings, and will be flying to LA in August for a Homeboy Industries conference on social enterprise. Here’s what Mashyla had to say about her new job:
Aaron: A lot has changed for you in the past year!
Mashyla: Yeah. It has!
Aaron: So why did you decide to come work for us, when we offered the job?
Mashyla: It makes me feel better, to help people. It’s very selfish honestly– I like being able to make people smile who don’t get to smile much. I’m the church jester.
Aaron: What kind of work would you like to see us doing in the future?
Mashyla: I saw a story about a place in Alaska that has a laundromat attached to a cafe, and their hours are noon to midnight. I think an arcade would really cool. And maybe the most practical thing we could do would be to put a gazebo in the yard, to have some kind of shelter space available 24/7. When I was homeless, there was a gazebo in town I would hide out in– it had these nice chairs, outlets, and I could get on the wifi. There were lights and a fan, too.
Aaron: I like that, I know people could really use it.
Mashyla: It can be really dangerous out there, when you’re sleeping outside. You don’t want people to be able to see you, especially at night. I was talking to Sarah about this. We could put a sign on the gazebo that says, “Tresspassing Welcome.” “Please loiter.” “Please linger!”