Monday, October 31, 2011

Poverty and homelessness

Homeless, in varying degrees, is fairly prevalent in Buenos Aires. There are those who are truly homeless, carrying with them a pushcart or trash bag of their belongings by day, and hunkering down on a cardboard mattress in a doorway by night; as well as those who live in modest homes (if you can even call them that) constructed from scraps despite extreme poverty. There are women with children who seem desperate to get off the streets, and the occasional person (see the second photo below) who actually seems to like the lifestyle. Then there are people who due to either mental problems or drug use seem to have no understanding of their situation or society at all, like the man who frequents Santa Fe in the 3500 area barefoot wearing only trash bags as clothing. Seeing people collect bottles and other things of value from the trash is common place, even for employed trash people. Collecting cardboard for redemption, in a huge 3 1/2 feet cube canvas bag or wheelbarrow type cart, is another common "job."
In all cases, it's hard to photograph these people while still allowing them dignity and me safety, so I haven't got many pictures. Furthermore, I am rarely in the areas where poverty is at it's worst. However, I will continue to post pictures as I accumulate them in an attempt to show Argentina accurately.
The problem of poverty and homelessness, appears to be out of control of the government. It seems to me that many of the programs created are band aid programs (if that), rather than something that will truly improve the situation. Furthermore, some politicians use the poor as pawns, bribing them for votes, or offering incentives right before elections and then turning a blind eye when they are elected. Lastly, there is an unsympathetic public opinion of the poor because so much crime is committed by some of them. All of these can of course be attributed back to an education problem, which is hard to address for a huge country with many other problems as well. 
 Buenos Aires (Sante Fe & Malabia)
 Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires (Sante Fe & Scalabrini Ortiz)
(he has 2 dogs, a mattress, a TV with cable, a radio, an incense burner...)
On the way back from Córdoba.

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