In the last couple of days I find myself in Romania. After a city break in France, we came home for about 2 weeks, since 6 months passed from our last visit. Yesterday we’ve been in Brașov, in order to visit my sister with which I met the last time more than one year ago. After we got in the cab in Bucharest, the driver asked us if we should go through Ferentari or straight forward in order to get to the train station. And here everything started.

I used to read a blog of a girl living in Ferentari, in the last year I follow an activist in that area, I used to be volunteer in an AIDS related NGO, but I never imagined that a neighborhood like this exists in Romania. We kindly asked the driver that we would like to visit a little bit more of Ferentari, to see which is the ghetto everyone is saying about. The main road is clean, there are a lot of freshly renovated buildings, colored and with stores. But behind them, on the second street, another world reveals. It was 10 in the morning, but it wasn’t a problem for some guys to be “high” of heroin. The buildings don’t have doors and between them piles of garbage sit in disintegration. The driver says to us: “Look, there they are selling drugs”: it was a window at the ground floor, well hidden after some plastic veils and in the left corner a small place just to make eye contact with the seller – which was an old man around his 70s. Near the building 2 old women were counting the syringes, they were selling them on the streets – because in stupid Romania you can buy them from the pharmacy only if you have prescription (like if you don’t have syringes you will quit heroin). In front of the entrance of another building a old woman, dressed like my grandma, was hiding the syringes in her coat when we passed by. From the next one, a guy, around his 20s, exit wearing a red, fluffy bathrobe, having a cigar in the corner of the mouth. Desolation is only one of the feeling that got to me, I was still shaking after we left the area, my skin was chicken and all I could think about was how come for so many years I lived in another world. Ignorance is the mother of happiness, it is well known, but I am still petrified by the fact that life depends in fact on luck so much: the kids living there don’t have a chance for a normal life, it’s a cycle that perpetuates the same mistakes and dependencies. It’s a situation of which the government lost control and the society is just closing the eyes.

I am convinced that in many countries this type of area exists, that being on drugs is something with no control starting with a point. But after 2 months of mad home sick, imagining Romania as the perfect country, I find myself desolated. It is like I don’t belong anymore anywhere: in Netherlands the integration and accommodation process is still on going (I need to learn Dutch) and Romania seems to be in fact only disillusion of delusion. Is it a normal feeling? I really don’t know.

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