To be or not to be – The poor who do not exist

I was never confronted with the poverty of non- existence, the full ignorance by officials to exist. But exactly that was the case I experienced in Romania

The bridge to the ignored village
The bridge to the ignored village

Often poor families  and individuals stay just among others, in crowded living surroundings, in the middle of the cities.  Some are even more ‘visible’ and stay in  suburbs in between, in slums, ghettos or just poor parts of the cities.

But then there are those “who not are” because of a total ignorance of their existence: those living in places where officially no one stays, which means there is simply a kind of blind spot. People who live here are not part of the city. They do not belong to the others. They are completely ignored by the outer world. I never realized that kind of complete non- acceptance in such a sharp way as I did in Romania when I visited the Dallas area in Iasi.

It felt we were still walking in the center of the city passing shops, big houses, apartments, schools when – from one moment to another – we arrived in a street that marked the city border. In front of us just a small hill and land: A huge empty piece of land with no flowers or trees.  Climbing up the small hill there was a river, with a few water only and waste, a dirt track to a small bridge that leads to the huge desolate landscape. We crossed the bridge and continued walking at least ten, fifteen minutes on that land – under the sun without any shadow and any plant. Then we arrived at the Dallas village – that’s how they call it: The village of the street kids and poor families who “do not exist.”

It’s somehow impossible to describe the atmosphere. It felt at the first moment like the troubled land, the vampire’s home, misery and a huge desolation – all together.

But that’s just an unreal impression, from us, the people from the rich site of life. The children living there already are waiting for us. They have seen us before coming across the wide land and with a bright smile they greet and like to play with us.

Can you imagine “to be and not to be” at the same time? How must it feel? How to live in such  surroundings that in raining seasons and winter times become that muddy that you cannot even reach it on foot?

I’m sure there will be several situations I lived there that will stay in my mind. There is one I’d like to share with you because it turns to my mind again and again: The bridge that divides the two worlds. In some months of the year even over troubled water mixed with waste.

A troubled world, isn’t it? It’s up to you to have a closer look to it or just to ignore.

 

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