In the morning Saïd wears an old coat, dirty clothes and a cap on his head that together with the mask makes him unrecognizable. So you can go unnoticed when your child walks down the street while he rummages through the junk containers. If you can sell enough pieces you can at least eat a can of preserves when it gets dark. At night he washes himself in a basin of water in a parking lot and wraps himself in a blanket inside his car.
This is how Saïd has lived for eight months in when the pandemic took everything away from him. Like so many others, the virus took away their jobs, then their homes, and now their minds are reeling. He is just one of the thousand long people who sleep on the street in large metropolitan cities, as counted last night by hundreds of volunteers led by social entities.
“It’s the only thing I have,” says Saïd, a 48-year-old Moroccan who arrived in Catalonia in 1981, when he points to his vehicle. The pandemic caught him in Avignon (France) “There I worked in a company that manufactures industrial machinery.
I had a good salary, a flat and everything I always wanted and now I’m on the street. It’s unfortunate!” His contract ended and he had to return to L’Hospitalet to renew his work permit.
“My savings ran out, and I decided to stay in the car. Eight months have passed and I am still here, no one is helping me out of this,” criticizes the man.
The Red Cross has provided him with a blanket to sleep on, but he says that three months ago he asked to sign up at the municipal shelter in L’Hospitalet, which has 31 beds. “They haven’t called me yet,In the meantime he has tried to look for a job. “How can I give you the resume if I don’t have it to print?”
In the same parking lot, three more people are in the same situation. Mostafá has already turned half a century, and for about a year he has lived in a van that was found abandoned. “I have fixed it a little and look, this way I am less cold,” he says resigned. The man has been in Spain for more than 30 years working in construction.
“First I rented rooms for 300 euros, but with the pandemic I was left with nothing and I ended up here,” he explains while his eyes blur. He also lives off scrap metal, but of the 15 euros he can get a day, half he saves to send to his wife and two daughters who live in Nador and who, of course, “don’t know anything about this either.” Look up at the sky and snort. “I just have to hang on a bit, and God save me from this”
Who also lives from scrap metal is Ramón, 39, a resident of Terrassa. “A year ago I was living with my wife and children in my apartment,” he recalls. Since he was a teenager he has been a freelance plumber, but as soon as the virus arrived, his billing dropped by 95%. Financial difficulties and dramas at home precipitated their flight and divorce.
He has lived in a red car for two months, he wears a large beard and the vehicle gives off a strong stench. “I shower as I can but it costs me everything a lot. Explaining it makes my hair stand on end. I feel completely alone, ” he says while looking into infinity to hold back his tears.