Tag Archives: reintegration

La Dolce Vita… a Roma.

Rome for me is kind of like Santa Clause- a shiny, exciting, creature, that isn’t fully real, but that is so adhered to, a culture surrounds it. Rome is a great city to be in for seeing beauty—the Trevi Fountain, the Vatician, the Coliseum. Due to the luxury, there isn’t much evidence that a harsher life exists within and around the city. Taking the train from the airport to Termini Station, there are multiple areas where I saw mattresses rolled up in cardboard, extra clothing in bags, some cooking pots, and sometimes even small shacks made from plastic sheeting. In 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights estimated 7,000 of the 17,000 homeless in Italy to reside in Rome (what was said to be an inadequate number, due to difficulty obtaining realistic estimates). About half live in the historic area of the city, pan handling, while the other half live in areas around the city, one of which, Ostiense, you can see from the train ride. I found myself questioning a bit why I was taking this travel trip while in Rome, why I was spending the money to see the luxury, when I am so aware of poverty after living for 5 months in rural Kenya. Many people say re-integration is difficult—but it’s an odd idea in itself, that you have to have experience emotional, mental and social movement, when all along you were living with other human beings, who exhibit similar needs of food, water, shelter and care, regardless of where in the world you are. So here I sit, questioning being in the café I am in, which has beautiful tiled floors, shiny glass cases, extraneous overpriced candies at the register. In a way, it is more comfortable to be in the shiny, pretty, Rome… and in a way, it causes me to feel uncomfortable, knowing another version of life lives synonymously alongside the Trevi Fountain, a life that is much harder, colder, and less comfortable.

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