If you walked in Barcelona around not so touristy places, you might have noticed people walking with a big shopping trolley, carrying there some trash and sometimes cardboard. Sometimes they have there some personal stuff, blankets, furniture, etc. I always was wondering what do people do with all of it? Are they homeless, or it is an extraordinary job, or they are moving out?
I also was surprised by how good looking are the homeless in Barcelona. Don’t get me wrong. Where I came from, homeless usually mean people who used to have stability in life, but then they started drinking and lost everything. But here all of them don’t look like high marginals. So, when I was seeing those people, I was thinking, are they homeless who prefer to keep and carry their stuff this way, like snails. But then I figured out they are people who are engaged in scrap. Usually, they collect waste, cardboard, and some things. Scrap they change for money, cardboard they leave to recycle in Badalona and other stuff they sell in a large unauthorized flea market next by Glories metro station. There you can see a lot of people from different nationalities, trying to sell everything. You can find there a laptop, old dolls and dirty toys, clothes, kitchen utensils, literally everything that can you also find next by trash boxes. Sometimes you can see there some rare stuff, old books, collectible badges or something for 1-5 euros for a gift to one of those weird friends who likes to collect strange, useless things. And whenever the police car is approaching, all these sellers run away with all items. And when the car goes away, they come back. Usually, people who are dedicated to scrapping came from Africa, Morocco, or Rumania. Most of them are gypsy and try to make money working like that. They sell scrap at 0.19 euro cents a kilo; the cardboard at 0.06 euro cents. “The scrapers” earn a maximum of ten euros a day as I heard from a girl who I met nearby my neighborhood.
I like Barcelona for that, you can easily talk to people in the streets, and they mostly will kindly talk to you back. But what shocked me in a good way, was a story which happened to me and one homeless man a few years ago. I was living in the neighborhood, which was far away from the city center, and there was a bank with a porch where every night was sleeping an African man. He was taking off his shoes and leaving them on the ground. Every time I was seeing him, he was asking how I am doing today. He looked organized, secure, and sometimes I was seeing him taking a shower in the fountain in the park, which was cuter than disgusting.
Once I wanted to do something kind for him, and I baked brownie and took a few pieces to bring them to him. When I offered him to try the brownie I made, he refused to take it, because it contains sugar! And sugar can damage tooth enamel! I had nothing to say. I was surprised by his reaction and honestly wasn’t expecting this. I was thinking that each of these people who sleep in the streets or carrying scrap in shopping trolley has his own story, and I wish I could to listen to all of them. Maybe someday I will be brave enough to ask one of them about it.