Issue 26b/2005, October 7 2005 (No. 200)
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Today Bremen represents a forward-looking urban landscape ...
Touristic office of Bremen: Everything at a glance, Bremen 2003
I sat down on a bench in a little bower. On the corner posts of the bower were also among others Russian graffitis. Across the way was the entrance of a staircase. One digit of the house number was missing. On the roof was a mobile phone mast. I thought I could make out several flats which belonged to the staircase.
A patrol car arrived. The officers told me, that the housing area was no stronghold of criminals. There had been more problems and more empty flats in the past years. They told me that many foreign poeple, especially East Europeans, lived here.
An about ten-year-old boy arrived. His bike had only one guard. His opinion on the housing area was, 'Wohlers Eichen is absolutely retarded and everyone want to move out. It's here completely boring. There are no places to play. There is only the playhouse over there. You enter it, you say 'Hello' and then you go out.' I asked him, what he did play. He answered, 'We ride over the hill.' Then he rode on his rickety bike over a heap of earth.
He told me that he had pushed off from school today. He had fought with classmates.
Suddenly he cried, 'Mary!.' He ran after a cat. The cat ran away. He told me, 'Mary is my cat. We had to give her away to our neighbours, because we admitted a dog. Mary and the dog didn't get along well. We don't have much money. We heaped a bowl with dry cat food for three weeks.'
He got a mobile phone out of his trouser pocket. He took a look at the watch of the mobile and said, 'I've to go home.' Then he drove off.
In front of the playhouse a lot of Turkish women sat around a table. Their children played on the playground.
I went to look for the playhouse the boy had told about. First I found a spacious, well equipped playground. At the edge of the playground there was an inconspicuous low building. The door of the building was open. In front of the house a lot of women sat around a table. Most of them wore scarfs. Tea, juice and all kinds of eatable things were on the table. A quite forceful young Turkish woman, who didn't wear a scarf, now and then reprimanded one of the playing children. She intervened and consoled. She said to me, 'A full-time person in charge will be here within an hour.' I took a picture of the idyll.
Behind the housing area there is a nice little avenue.
I drove through a nice little avenue behind the housing area. I met an elder man, who had great difficulty walking. He walked his dog.
In the neighbourhood of the housing area is a power station.
He said to me, 'I am a Pole. I retired after a stroke. I live in the housing area for twenty years. The flats are well partitioned and spacious. There are three rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. I pay about 540 Euro rent, because I am a pensioner. In the years before times were more troubled at the housing area. Scoundrels repeatedly broke into cars. But now the situation has calmed down.'
I rode up the open-air parking level, which was opposite to the front of the concrete castle. The huge area was almost empty. A family got some things out of their car. They said, 'We live in the housing area for twenty years. We are contented with our flat.'
I left the parking level over a ramp. At the foot of the ramp I again met the boy. He complained that he couldn't enter his flat because his mother, her friend and his elder sister only had a key. He had repeatedly rung up at home, but no one had answered the phone.
I returned to the playground. Mr. R., a voluntary worker of the playhouse, told me that he did youth work for a long time and that he was present at the holiday trips for the children, which the team of the playhouse had arranged. He told me something about the institution. There are two full-time persons in charge and two voluntary workers belong to the playhouse. It is open from 1 pm to 7pm. The target group are mainly children up to 13 years. Activities like cooking, baking and handicrafts are possible. Once a week the children can do sports in the neighbouring gym. The house is open during all holidays. There is a looked after play group for toddlers and their mothers, that means that small children up to 3 years and their mothers play and do handicrafts twice a week in the morning.
The voluntary worker I met also has a social full-time job. He looks after youth offenders and their victims. He has to look after young people also in the housing area. Young Russian offenders are often problem cases. In their families are often problems of violence. He told me that a cop of the police station Oslebshausen, Mr. S., had helped very much to solve those problems of violence and that he was held in great esteem, because he got on very well with the young people.
I slowly rode home. I met a cop, who patroled by bike. He complained that he would have to stay at the police station one day a week as a result of new rules. He said that he would have to take down charges of citizens on a given day of the week. He complained that he would have less time for patrol rounds.
(My wife Christine helped me to translate the text. Thanks.)
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Writing for the web (16)
A poor-people area in Phom Phen
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