Posted by StreetWise in Vendor ProfilesBarkah Wasuda has seen some parts of the world that some people only dream of. He was born in Saudi Arabia when his dad did engineering work for oil companies. He’s also lived in Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, South Africa, and Egypt.
“I was home-schooled, so I had to study every day. I went to lessons in the morning and I had a tutor that taught me loads of things. She also taught me Chinese, but at home I spoke mostly English,” Barkah said.
“My mother is American-born, but she is also Indonesian. My father is Indoneisian born, but he also came to America when he was younger. Indonesian is the primary language [that I speak with my parents], but we also speak a bit of Arabic, because Islam is [our] main religion. I am [officially] trilingual, because I speak two dialects of Chinese and also English but I also speak bits and pieces of French and Spanish,” Barkah said.
Though he has only been with StreetWise since May, Barkah really enjoys the work he does because it gives him a lot of freedom with regard to the hours he works. This is especially important because of the other entrepreneurial endeavors he’s taking on.
“I do freelance construction. I also learned to cook growing up doing restaurant work, mostly Asian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, and Cantonese [cuisines]. I’ve cooked in Chinatown and also in Valparaiso, Indiana,” Barkah said.
Barkah is also currently bartending and has experience in renovation. He is most proud of his personal endeavors in IT work on websites and in web development. “The more things I do, the more opportunities I get,” Barkah said.
It’s easy to assume that Barkah is extraordinarily busy, considering his many enterprises to make a living. “Sometimes I don’t even sleep because it’s a lot of stress. But [that’s why I like StreetWise], because you can make your own schedule,” he said. Barkah is now in an apartment a few blocks away from where he sells his magazines at 2101 W. Armitage. Now that he has completed the goal of finding stable housing, his next objective is to normalize his day-to-day schedule. In order to do this, he hopes to hone his computer and media skills so that he can find steady work with an IT firm.
To reach this end, Barkah is getting his life organized and trying to make sure that he has a game plan for each day. “Determination is always a big deal to me and I always try to plan and organize everything out. I’m a Type A personality. Even in the morning, I organize my StreetWise bag and what I’m going to bring to dinner. Sometimes I get up at 3 in the morning and go through my schedule and where I need to go and plan it all out. I just don’t like to be doing nothing,” said Barkah.
“StreetWise is a stepping stone. I used to go around to all the soup kitchens from place to place and, after awhile, it’s very depressing. I want to get back into a working lifestyle so I can be better than that. Like I said, StreetWise helps me focus on my goals that I need to give attention to,” Barkah said.
Written by Brittany Langmeyer