Scientists surmise that the earliest hominid ancestors who lived in Spain were the Pierolapithecus.
They weren’t necessarily human, but scientists found something extremely crucial in them that might have been passed down to both apes and humans: the concept of ‘proper’ sleep.
These monkey-like creatures learned to build nests on trees where they could sleep for prolonged periods of time. These prolonged stretches helped brain matter to develop.
So, you see how important such a small thing was in the evolution of humanity. It was probably even more significant than the bipedal gait.
Even today, the lack of sleep remains a critical health issue. No man, woman or child should be deprived of it. Lack of sleep kills.
However, there are some people who are speeding towards this ‘deadly’ fate: the homeless.
On the streets, just like the Pierolapithecus’ ancestors who dwelt on the ground, the homeless have to be alert and more often than not awake all night. They have no nests to sleep safe and sound.
However, thanks to the Gubbio project, at least 225 homeless individuals find solace and sleep on the pews of the St. Boniface Church, San Francisco.
The Gubbio project is a nondenominational project started in 2004, by Father Louis Vitale and Shelly Roder.
It was done as a response to the rising number of homeless people in San Francisco’s Tenderloin area.
Homeless populations have been on the rise for quite some time now and it seems that they have simply been ignored. It almost seems like the governments do not consider them as humans – or significant ‘votes’.
To remove the greatest obstacle – fear of being judged – the church has removed all kinds of barriers. This includes sign-in sheets and sign-out sheets. Anyone who walks in can sleep peacefully here, as their website states.
The sanctuary is large enough to be used for both churchgoers as well as the homeless population seeking shelter.
The Church has a daily mass at 12:15 pm every day. During the mass, the front one-third of the sanctuary is used, while the Gubbio project uses the back two-thirds of it for their people. It makes the environment more inclusive.
The Church also provides blankets, socks, hygiene kits and massages for the homeless. Comfort and peace and a good night’s sleep are beneficial when you are motivating someone to go out and seek a life worth living.
There is also another deeper and more spiritual message here. Faith isn’t something that comes easy to homeless people. They often give in to desperation. It is like a second death for every human being – hope keeps us alive after all.
This kind welcome into the house of God is something that helps these people find hope and faith again. These two aspects of human life are very important – especially, in this modern capitalistic, materialistic and often selfish world, where we are put into fire and expected to come out of it, clean and unscorched.
The peace and quiet of a good night’s sleep gives them the strength to go out, live, and try to find work.
The cogs that oppress them are very old and still strong. They have been turning for ages without rusting. But some small movements like the Gubbio project make things a little bit easier.