G’day readers, here we are. Lots of stuff already written up for this pilgrim’s journal here, but there’s a problem connecting my laptop to the hotel’s wifi system, so until I find a hotspot that works, I’m using the public internet in the lobby. I’ll load the report on the journey here when I can. Circadian rhythms have just about righted themselves, so I’m just taking a relaxing day wandering around the downtown area and getting some orientation. Ended up under some trees on the river bank just past a replica of the fort from which Nashville was founded. Pretty hot and muggy, so stayed there a while reading up on Alexander Campbell’s life story as imaged in “Fool of God.” Hopefully good preparation for the tour over the weekend of historic sites associated with him. Looking for an ATM in the downtown district, one could not help but notice the proliferation of notices warning against giving money to “panhandlers” – the fine print advised it was preferable to give food and water, but also gave a phone number to which one could refer those in need. On the river bank I was aware that I was sharing the shade with a range of possible homeless wanderers. Rammed into a bench was a crumpled newspaper published by a homeless advocacy group. Right on the spot I could learn about the plight of the poor in this region and the challenge to assist that is being addressed largely by the churches. The problem is that food distribution points are best accessible by car and the main mode of transport for the homeless is walking. The advocacy group has a centre in the downtown district from which they can give advice and support, but the lease does not allow them to give material assistance from the premises. Lobbying for government funding for homeless assistance programs seems to be part of their work as well. The talk in the general media is about raised levels of anxiety as more families become homeless due to the sub-prime crisis. It will be interesting in convention week to hear some perspectives on this, and whether there is strength in the so-called domino-effect on our own country – and also clues that may help a similar but different crisis for the growing number of homeless in Perth.