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Issue 2a/2007, February 1 2007 (No. 230)

        
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THE DAILY GROOVE
ISSUE 002A-07:
ENCOUNTERS 6A


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MASTHEAD


 
Man does not live by bread alone.
Matthew 4:4


I already have known for a long time that this place existed. A few months ago I saw it from a distance. I was biking around a nearby industrial park. People were standing in line in an open strip between two buildings for commercial use. On the left of the open strip was the quite presentable rear of the office building of a telecommunication company. On the right was a plain concrete building. In that building there were storerooms and workshops. I watched the event from a distance. A few people passed me. They pulled loaded wheeled shopping bags behind them.towards the next street.
 
A few days ago I visited that place again. I wanted to explore it. I now also pulled a wheeled shopping bag behind me. I wore grubby trousers and the old anorak which I have on when I deliver newspapers. I was unshavn. It was raining and storming. A delivery van of a caterer was parked in front of the glittering office building of the telecommunication company. I saw the writing 'Dreamlike buffets - individual menus'. When I reached my destination in the backyard at 0:30 pm , I saw that anybody wasn't at the door yet. I learned from a notice board that the door would be opened not until 1:00 pm. There were blinds in some windows, so you couldn't take a look at some rooms from outside. The offices, the storerooms and the rooms, which were open to the public, were quite plain. On the frontage of the building was still a big firm's name of a former tenant 'Kitchen Units Studio'.
 
I saw a a tearoom which was also a waiting room. I saw that a few people were already inside. I didn't enter. I didn't wait at the door. I didn't have a permit to put foodstuffs into my wheeled shopping bag for nothing. My wife and I don't have much money, but we are not on social security. So I withdrew.
 
I went along the open strip up to a nearby warehouse. I saw a long alignment of loading ramps. I thought that trucks of forwarding agencies and postal service companies were being loaded up there during the night. I moved into position on one of the ramps. I was sheltered from rain and curious eyes. The first visitors to the charity organisation passed me. They pulled their big wheeled shopping bags behind them through the enduring rain. They intermittently arrived because they probably came by bus from several easterly suburbs where a lot of poor people live.
 
Most of them were women, especially pensioners. But there were also young women.
 
office building
 
An office building near to the distributing office
 
Many of them wore a scarf. Some of them had their little children with them. I only saw few elderly men and very few young men. I noticed that there were several overweight people.
 
About ten metres away from my position a young man climbed up the ramp looking for a shelter from rain. When I once took a look at him, I saw a pizza-suppliers car moving around the industrial park in the distance. After a while I went across the ramp to the young man, who was about twenty years old.. He was a Russian. He spoke little German.
 
When the distributing office was opened, there were about forty persons at the door in spite of the rain. I followed the young man. I went and stood at the door of the office. The waiting people didn't stand in line, they formed a cluster. All of them had a waiting number. Not single numbers, but blocks of ten numbers were called up. So the men and women entered the office in groups. I saw many elderly Russian women. Some of them had their husband with them. Their clothes were unconspicuous and tidy. I saw few Germans. Near to me was a quite young couple. They wore tracksuits. Their complexion was pale. They were overweight. They talked to each other in a joking and self-encouraging way. At the opposite end of the cluster I saw some young men looking very anxiously. I held out for half an hour, but then I was frozen to the bone. I had to go to the tearoom.
 
The tearoom was partitioned off a storeroom by means of a wooden lemellate screen. The lemellate screen was decorated with artificial foliage and posters. On the poster was the writing Make the first move and a picture. In the picture were two shy birds. They touched their toes. The tearoom was furnished with about ten plain desks and a lot of plastic chairs. The plastic tableclothes were faded. A little fabric house was set up for children. Christian tracts lay on a window seat behind the little fabric house. The tearoom is arranged by a free church. Thermal coffee pots were on low cupboards nearby the entry. There was also a pinboard for announcement and news.

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