there once lived...
One day, Esma got acquainted with the head of the security of the Central Hotel.
Esma spent much time in hospitals. She died after a stroke in 2004. She was 76 years old. At the funeral were her friends who helped her throughout all ten years of her life in Moscow. A nephew came from Kazan. The Friends on the Street Foundation found Misha's phone, and thanks to his efforts, the funeral was held the way Esma had wanted.
There once lived a woman whose name was Esma. Esma worked as a paramedic in Dushanbe all her life. She even succeeded in earning money to buy a small two-room apartment.
In 1991, Tajikistan declared its independence. In Dushanbe, they didn’t like Russians much, and Esma, being a Tatar and a Muslim, was considered as Russian there.
Esma had to leave. She was threatened and some strangers started living at her apartment. When she moved to Moscow, she was already 63 years old. Esma decided to get an apartment in Moscow instead of the one she was evicted from in Dushanbe. She beat down doors of officials but was offered places in dormitories or nursing homes. Esma would not accept such offers.
For a long time she lived at the bus station. There Esma got acquainted with the driver Misha, also a Tatar. She could always count on his help. Esma complained to him that there would be nobody to bury her according to the Muslim rite. Later volunteers learned that her relatives lived in Kazan. But she did not go to them as she did not want to burden anyone.
He allowed her to spend nights in one of the outbuildings, on a chair behind a billboard. But the top management of the hotel changed, and Esma had to look for another shelter.
This is a real story, not fiction.
It has been 11 years that at the end of every winter, a memorial service for homeless people who died on the street is held in Moscow. This year, 96 names were read out loud as part of this memorial service. It is yet unknown how many homeless people actually die on the streets every year.
By returning to homeless and nameless people their names and destinies we are trying to change attitudes towards them.
Share this project with your friends, and there will be less stories like that.
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© 2017, Takie dela
ma76 years old
Esma is dignified and stubborn. When attempting to achieve truth, she may quarrel even with volunteers who bring her food and warm clothes
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