By Cornell Jarea
I started selling the magazine in this part of Chelsea last year. It’s an interesting place because there are lots of grand buildings but there are also lots of council houses, too. As a result, you meet wealthy people, middle-class people and some poorer people — it’s a good mix. All kinds of people ask me about my situation and offer me advice.
I came to the U.K. to work in 2013. I come from a city not too far from Bucharest called Ploiesti. There was not much for me there, not many opportunities, so I came to the U.K. to try my luck. I got a construction job as the traffic marshal on a construction site at London Bridge station, near The Shard.
The job allowed me to stay in a room at a bed and breakfast and things were going well but unfortunately that job didn’t last. I became homeless, and I started to drink. Things have been difficult. I have been sleeping in doorways and other little spots that are tucked away, here and there, where I can keep warm.
But I started selling The Big Issue and things started to become better. As well as some money, it gave me a sense of purpose, some pattern to the day. And it has also helped me to cut the drinking out. Life is hard when you drink but when you get your head clear, life definitely looks brighter.
I would like to stay in London. I got a glimpse of what life can be like here and I like the city – it is a wonderful place. I’ve been to St. Paul’s and to the Houses of Parliament. I’ve also been to the studio of Bryan Adams – the singer and photographer. He was taking photos of Big Issue vendors, which was cool. He’s a really nice guy.
If I can build a life here, I would like to do some fishing in different parts of Britain. I used to love to go fishing in Romania: I would find a nice spot, sit and relax, listen to the birds and maybe catch some carp. I would like to fish in Scotland, or by a nice lake in the north, or maybe some place along the Thames. But, at the moment, I can’t afford the rod. I will keep working hard and earn some money and see what life brings me. I always keep trying.
Courtesy of INSP / The Big Issue UK
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