Half a year living on the street
“I´m 52 years old and I was a baker for 30 years; I worked between 10 and 12 hours a day until I ended up without a job and soon my unemployment payments ran out. I was stuck with serious debts and I had to sell my flat at a loss. In August I started living on the street. The volunteers from Arrels got to know me in the bank where I slept; it had been ten days since I´d showered, and from then on I went to shower there. Recently I moved into a room.
I didn´t know how to live on the street. The first days I didn´t think I would be able to do it, I even went to the police to ask if they could arrest me so I´d have a roof over my head. You think about throwing a rock through a shop window to spend the night at the police station, but I never did it.
Little by little, thanks to other people in a similar situation, you start to find out about the places where you can get help. They are quite far apart but now I have a set route. In the mornings I go to Raval to have breakfast in Arrels or at another place. Then I head to the Zona Alta to get something for lunch. I walk – it takes me an hour to get there. I eat and start walking back to Arrels straight away. If I arrive before they open I´ll sit on a bench and wait. I´ve learned that on Thursdays you can get sandwiches from this or that place, and that on Friday nights they hand out hot coffee in Plaza Catalunya.
I don´t like skipping the metro fare. One day, somebody gave me a metro card with three rides on it; it made me very happy, you save a lot of time and you don´t get so tired. You have to arrive on time or you go without eating. Living in this way is disagreeable.
I´ve managed to get by thanks to my companions on the streets. Once I was sick with pneumonia and thankfully one of them called the ambulance: I spent ten days in the hospital.
The future? I hope to be lucky enough to be able to earn some money, at least enough not to have to go looking for tobacco in the street.”