Meet Richard

Click on the image or link below to hear Richard’s story.

My name is Eddie Wu, and I am a junior at Duke University. I was born in China, and I moved to Monterey Park, California when I was 11. At Duke, I am pursuing a major in philosophy and certificates in ethics and documentary studies.

As a documentary studies student, I hoped to explore what was previously unexplored, unrecognized, or ignored. This led me to enroll in the Documentary Engagement class about homelessness. I thought I was journeying into the unknown to investigate people in a condition altogether different from who I am and what I have experienced.

I worked with Solomon on the PATH Outreach program at Housing for New Hope. As part of the program, Solomon visits homeless people on the streets of Chapel Hill and in their camps, and he offers them help in navigating social services and getting housing. Solomon introduced me to many people he works with, for which I am grateful,  Meeting his acquaintances face-to-face changed my idea of homelessness. What I had imagined as some general mass of people became individuals with names, faces, and identities.

I met Richard on an outreach trip with Solomon. Richard lives in an elaborate camp he has built in the woods, and he is always with his faithful companion, a dog named Kaiser. He told me many stories, from tales of hard times past and present to anecdotes of the small comforts of life. As my friendship with him grew, I realized that I was no longer portraying a stereotypical homeless figure holding a sign on the streets. Rather, my documentary is about the life stories that cannot be neatly categorized but are nonetheless familiar to each and every one of us.

Ultimately I hope that my documentary conveys  not what makes us different;  but what makes us similar.


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