Tamara

Tamara, 21 today!

Happy Birthday!

I had the chance to meet this beautiful young woman last year. She had been out all night on the streets. While she spoke to me she was on the Women’s side of what was once Metro Central. It was a place where she had the chance to shower and do her hair and makeup.

I only had this one encounter with Tamara a year ago. She was in a pretty tough place, battling addiction at a young age and hitch hiking to different towns across BC. When Holding out Hope came about I thought about Tamara. I thought it would be a great opportunity to share her story so I contacted her on social media.

And in reconnecting with her, she shared with me about her sobriety and moving back to Prince George, where she got clean.

Here is Tamara’s story; past and present.

2015 (At Metro Central, Kelowna)

“I want to travel the world one day. I like to keep busy and don’t like to be sitting around.

I came here from Prince George. I checked out of there and went backpacking. I have been to Kamloops, Penticton, Vancouver, I’ve been around Kelowna now. I love Kelowna; It’s beautiful but there are too many people.. It’s getting bigger. I like the sights around and taking pictures, there is a lot to see around here.

I brought a radio here for the women- I love it, it’s pretty retro.

I’m staying in Kelowna on the streets and it’s not that bad. I fell asleep in the ballpark yesterday while I was drawing. I slept all night there and when I woke up it was fucking freezing. I got to the park at 10 o’clock after bringing my clothes here (Metro). I stayed at the park until 1 o’clock. Maybe 2 o’clock, I don’t remember.

I don’t mind if people know I’m on the streets. At least they’ll know how young I am and I want people to know.”

2016 update

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“I moved to kelowna to get away from the drugs i was doing in prince george. I moved in with my sister and we had some problems so i got kicked outta her house and was left to fend for myself on the streets and then i started doin the hard drugs. i moved from kelowna to vernon and from vernon back to kelowna.then i moved to sury (Surrey) with this guy and got stuck there and not nowing any one then i met my ex tyler and we moved to pentiction then to osoyoos.

thank fully my friend got me back to kelowna.

I traveled to kelowna trying to better my life and ended up going down hill. I started doing hard drugs like meth and down (Heroin). i was sleeping out side most of the time or in the parkad and then i got arested and redsoned.

then i went to my sisters place and told her to call my parents and get me outta there. my recovery only happened because i had the suport i needed and a place to lay my head

i am glad i have my parents because if i didnt have them i wouldnt be were i am now. so i moved outta kelowna and now im just deling with my life and my recovey.

-you’res truley,

tamara beatrice cragg.”

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Tamara. We are all cheering you on and I am so glad to know you are in recovery and doing well. No matter what happens, your Metro family will always be here and hoping the best for you – No matter how far away you are.

Interview and photographs by Michelle Engel, with words from Tamara.

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