Some people are harder hit by La Crisis than others. Take Maria and José, for instance (not their real names). For the last 100 days or so, the married Spanish couple have camped out in Plaça de l’Hospital in Palma. They lost their home in March when they got behind with their rent. Both of them are currently unemployed; neither of them receives any salary, nor unemployment benefit nor any other financial help. They now live in a shelter made of card board boxes and plastic sheets not unlike those seen in the slums of Calcutta or Mumbay.
To be down and out in Palma de Mallorca is not an easy option.
Apparently, José suffered five heart attacks over the last three years and is only fit for work in somewhat limited terms. Maria suffers from a malfunction of one kidney and needs to have a regiment of medicine and tight medical supervision.
What amazes me is not the plight of the unfortunate couple. I am rather amazed and shocked to hear that they receive no help, no welfare and not even any recognition from social services or other municipal or religious institutions. Where the couple lives now, there are at least six churches within a 800 m radius, plus four convents, plus three hospitals. None of these have offered any help or seem even interested in the misfortunes of these down and out citizens. The only assistance Maria and José received so far was from the Ejército de Salvación (Salvation Army) who have made it their business to come once a week with food items, blankets and some clothing.
At night José and Maria are joined in their Favela by other homeless people. Up to ten or twelve indigent people share the stone benches in Plaça de l’Hospital every night. I am sure there must be even more people in dire need right now, right here in Mallorca and right under our eyes. It may be part of a Mallorcan reality that many might prefer not to see, but this reality exists, believe you me.
The photos were taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 17th, 2009. The time was 17:54:09 and 18:12:09, respectively.