No more roaming costs in EU, tell me if is true!

European Union Facebook page

From tomorrow, 15 June 2017, the European Parliament mandated to have “no more” roaming costs for calls, sms and data connections.

The president of the Council says: “The European Union is about bringing people together and making their lives easier. The end of roaming charges is a true European success story.”

But the truth is that there are many rules about this policy, so better you read them, here I share the official statement from the EU:

 

End of roaming charges in the EU – 15 June 2017

Roam like at home

The EU “roam like at home” rules mean that when you use your mobile phone while travelling outside your home country in any EU country you don’t have to pay any additional roaming charges. You benefit from these rules when calling (to mobile and fixed phones), sending text messages (SMS) and using data services while abroad.

You pay exactly the same price for using these services when travelling in the EU as you would if you were at home. In practice, your operator simply charges or takes your roaming consumption from the volumes in your domestic mobile tariff plan / bundle.

If you have a contract with a mobile operator which includes roaming services it will automatically be considered as a roam like at home contract. The default option for all new mobile contracts with roaming services will be roam like at home.

Conditions

Roam like at home is intended for people who occasionally travel outside the country where they live or have stable links i.e. they work or study there. It’s not meant to be used for permanent roaming. As long as you spend more time at home than abroad, or you use your mobile phone more at home than abroad, you can roam freely at domestic prices when travelling anywhere in the EU. This is considered a “fair use of roaming services”.

If you use your mobile phone abroad permanently, your mobile operator may charge you for your roaming use. These charges are capped however (see fair use policy below).

When you cross a border within the EU, you will continue to receive a text message from your mobile operator informing you that you are roaming and reminding you of its fair use policy.

Fair use policy

Mobile operators may apply what is known as a “fair use policy” to ensure that all roaming customers have access to and benefit from the roam like at home rules (i.e. regulated roaming services at domestic price) when travelling in the EU.  Mobile operators may apply fair, reasonable and proportionate control mechanisms to avoid abusive use of these rules.

Fair use policy and data limits

When you roam like at home there are no volume restrictions for voice calls and SMS, but there are rules and limits for data usage at domestic price which are determined by the type of contract you have.

In some specific cases (see below), beyond a reasonably high volume of roaming data at domestic price, you may have to pay a data roaming surcharge which will be equal to the wholesale (EU-wide) data cap (€7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT). This wholesale roaming price is the maximum your domestic operator has to pay a foreign operator when you use data roaming services.

Data limits – pre-paid cards

If you have a pre-paid card (meaning that you pay in advance for using your mobile phone) you can roam like at home. However, your mobile operator may apply a roam like at home limit for data if you pay per unit and your domestic unit price for data is less than €7.70 per GB.

If your mobile operator applies a roam like at home volume limit for data, that limit should be at least the volume obtained by dividing the remaining credit on your pre-paid card by €7.70 as soon you start using data roaming services. You will get the same volume of roaming data that you have paid for in advance. You can of course top up your credit while roaming.

Sample story

Jana lives in Slovakia and has a pre-paid card with €20 credit (including VAT) for her mobile phone, which covers calls, SMS and data services. When she goes on holiday to Spain, she has €12 (excluding VAT) credit left on her card. This means that during her holiday in Spain Jana can have a volume of data equal to the value of the remaining credit on her pre-paid card. She will get at least 1.5 GB of roaming data (€12/€7.70 = 1.5).

Data limits – national bundles with unlimited data

If you have a contract where you pay a fixed monthly fee and it includes bundled services with unlimited data, your mobile operator must provide you with a large volume of roam like at home data. The exact amount will depend on the price you pay for your mobile bundle.  The roaming data volume must be at least twice the volume obtained by dividing the price of your mobile bundle (excluding VAT) by the wholesale data roaming cap (€7.70 in 2017).

For example: you pay €40 (excluding VAT) for your mobile bundle with unlimited calls, SMS and data. When you roam like at home in the EU, you get unlimited calls and SMS and at least 10.3 GB of data (2x(€40/€7.70) =10.3).

Your operator must inform you of your roam like at home data allowance. If you go beyond this allowance while roaming the surcharge will be the wholesale data cap = €7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT, €6 / GB plus VAT in 2018.  The data cap will decrease further after 2018.

Data limits – national bundles with limited data

If you have limited or very cheap mobile data (less than €3.85 / GB in 2017), your operator may apply a “fair use” limit for data when you are roaming. The limit is calculated on the basis of the retail price of your domestic mobile bundle as in the case of unlimited data (above). Your operator must inform you in advance about this limit and will have to alert you when you reach it. Be aware that you can continue data roaming but your operator will apply a surcharge. This surcharge will be the wholesale data cap = €7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT, €6 / GB plus VAT in 2018.  The data cap will decrease further after 2018.

Other contracts

Operators may also offer contracts without roaming services or specifically designed alternative roaming contracts with tariffs which fall outside the scope of the roam like at home rules (for example if you roam outside the EU) but these types of options must be specially chosen by the customer. As mobile operators are free to offer cheaper rates, you should shop around to find the best value and offer to fit your specific needs.

Fair use policy – monitoring

As part of their fair use policy, your operator can monitor and check your roaming use over a 4 month period. If, during this period, you have spent more time abroad than at home and your roaming exceeds your domestic usage, your operator may contact you and ask you to clarify your situation. You will have 14 days to do so.  If you continue to spend more time abroad than you do at home and your roaming consumption continues to exceed your domestic usage your operator may start applying a surcharge to your roaming consumption. The surcharges (excluding VAT) are capped as follows:

  • 3.2 cents per minute of voice call made
  • 1 cent per SMS
  • €7.70 per GB of data (cap in 2017)

The cap for data will progressively decrease on 1 January each year as from 2018 as follows:  €6, €4.50, €3.50, €3 to €2.50 in 2022. The cap after 2019 may be revised following a review of the wholesale roaming markets in 2019.

Fair use policy – cross border workers

If you work in one EU country and live in a different one, you can choose a mobile operator in either country and roam like at home with a SIM from the country where you live or from the country where you work. The roam like at home fair use policy applies: as long as you log on at least once day to your domestic operator’s network, it will count as a day of presence (even if you go abroad the same day).

Calling from home / roaming outside the EU

Calling another EU or non-EU country from home is not considered as roaming so the roam like at home rules don’t apply. You should be aware that the prices for these calls are not regulated and can be expensive.

The cost of roaming (particularly data roaming) outside the EU can be expensive, so to avoid running up steep roaming bills check the cost for roaming outside the EU with your provider before travelling.

Roaming while travelling by ship or plane

When travelling by ship or plane in the EU you can roam like at home as long as you are connected to a terrestrial (land-based) mobile network. If mobile services are provided via satellite systems, roam like at home no longer applies and you will be charged for non-regulated roaming services (no price caps).

Protection of personal data

Your operator is required to comply with the relevant personal data protection rules and may only use your data (which they already have for billing purposes) to check and compare your roaming usage with your domestic consumption.

If things go wrong – your consumer rights

If you think your service provider has not respected your roam like at home rights and you have been charged for roaming services while travelling within the EU, contact your operator and use the complaint procedure in place to contest these extra charges.

If you are not satisfied with the response you can contact the relevant national regulatory authorities in your country, usually your national telecoms regulator who will resolve your case.”

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/telecoms-internet/mobile-roaming-costs/index_en.htm

 

 

I am quite curious to see if is true.

What do you think about this?
Share your thoughts!

CycloNudista 2017 Helsinki – Get rid of the accessories!

The most extravagant Many-FIEST-Action of the year! – For the fourth time in Suomi!

Do you know that oil kills more than wars, traffic accidents and murders all together?
For me this is already enough to dissent against it.

JOIN US To protest against INDECENT exposure to cars and pollution! Celebrating Cycling, Nature, Human body, simplicity and freedom of being.

The concept is simple: we do once a year a bicycle tour around the city, to get the city back from big motorized vehicles, shout against pollution, cars and hypocritical prudery.

12 June – 16.00
Varsapuistikko (next to Kaisaniemipuisto – Kaisaniemi park)

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WHY?

– To manifest against car culture & Pollution;

– Promoting Bicycle, nature & simplicity;

The reason YOU do it may be infinite:
You love bicycles,
you love your city,
you want noiseless means of transport,
you don’t want big and fast vehicles in the city,
you don’t like the oil industry,
you want to sensibilize drivers to mind the bikes

…and because you may be an exhibitionst!

 

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PRACTICAL INFO:

MEETING POINT
Varsapuistikko – next to Kaisaniemipuisto – Kaisaniemi park, close to the main train station.

16.00 – MEETING
We meet in the park.
come on time, or anyway before 18:00 (if you are working) because we can share some time together.
BODY PAINTING
We can bodypaint each other and decide which is the specific message one person wants to share.
&
PICNIC
I will bring a big amount of snacks, it will be for sure enough for the first ten persons, you are welcome to bring something if you wish.

18.00 – DEPARTURE
Tour map:
https://goo.gl/maps/MtgpA9TF7xE2

 

21.00 – SAUNA & GRILL
We celebrate the celebration in the sauna, warm & cosy!
Sompasauna (a free public sauna by the sea).
In the sauna we will have time to share our thoughts and feelings about the ride, what it meant for each of us.
There is also a grill there, if you have some vegetables you wanna grill, feel welcome to bring it.

 

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WHAT TO BRING:

Mandatory:
– Yourself,
– Bicycle, another green mean of transport or good legs to run!

Optional:
– A smile on your face,
– Any decoration that you find appropriate,
– Body painting material,
– Music instruments to play,
– A camera to record some pictures/videos,
– Drinks and food (for picnic and/or grill) to share if you wish,
– Blanket for picnic,
– Towels (for sauna).

Of course you are free to join/leave whenever you want and nudism is not mandatory.

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… WHERE IT BEGAN

On June 12th 2004 cyclists in 29 cities across the world took to the streets of the world, mostly wearing nothing more than a cheeky smile.

It was not only a huge success, but also a huge surprise, neither the media or the police actually thought that it would happen.

This was the worlds first international naked bike ride. Since then it has spread
to more than 70 cities around the world with thousands of participants.

 

HOW IS IT ORGANIZED

Well, the first thing to know is that it does not have any leaders, hierarchies or even any bureaucracy. It is an event that belongs entirely to its participants. You are not only invited to participate in this event, but also to take ownership of it.



MORE INFO



EVENT LINKS

Facebook Event
https://www.facebook.com/events/1149608161756155

CouchSurfing Event
Google+ Event

International Events
www.worldnakedbikeride.org

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Life in Denmark. Bicycles, Recycling and Free Food in Copenhagen.

A totally broken small boat, black and white, behind which you can see some typical Danish style buildings in the outskirt of Copenhagen.

WHY I LOVE THE NORTHERN COUNTRIES

In the Northern European countries, I find all that I was fighting for when I was in Southern Europe.
Here I am so happy that I feel a bit like a “looser”, I have the sensation that by being in this place, getting all the benefits of locals whom actually won those battles which I just left at midway, it’s a kind of easy escape for me.
Of course there are things here to improve too, still, the institutions are honest and trustworthy.

But from the other hand, I feel that by spending so much of my life at these latitudes, I am linked to the lands and people, which is so far and different from where I was born,  aware of belonging much more here than anywhere else.

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Copenhagen – Malmø

United but divided.
Sweden and Denmark spent big efforts to build the Øresund bridge, to create a metropolitan area that would be extended from Copenhagen to Malmo.
It happened that Sweden claimed to host much more refugees than Denmark and decided to have a border control between the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo.

The most worrying and upsetting thing is that in Copenhagen the control personnel,  before boarding the train to Malmo, takes a picture of your ID without even telling you anything about it.
That’s a big abuse against privacy. Not even in intercontinental border controls they take pictures of documents without a specific reason or without communicating it in advance.

Harmonious contrasts

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Business, but social.
København: “trading-harbour”, this is the translation of the name of the most continental capital of Scandinavia.
Even though we could easily say that Copenhagen is the capital of trading, business, design, and development, at the same time there is such a big social and human oriented movement, a real avant-garde, that you feel at home, no matter where you come from, or at least I speak for myself.
I feel warm, with like minded people and in a welcoming environment, even if I always disliked business and trade… but here commerce, it’s fair. At any rate fairer than anywhere else.
The first aspect that many companies and startups often take into account, in Copenhagen, it’s the social and environmental commitment.

POLITICS IN DENMARK, WHY IS IT SO SUCCESSFUL?

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In the most shops you will find a small cornerd dedicated to Danish Patriottism, flags and danish symbols in small format to use at the airport, during a danish birthday or many other occasion. Not sure is nationalism, for me is just funny.

Because political issues are made easy to understand by politicians.
Because everyone participates to political topics in the ordinary day life.
Because people gets involved and loves to share their thoughts in a constructive way.

LIBRARIES vs SHOPPING CENTERS

You can judge the quality of the administration of a country not just from the welfare measures, but from his libraries too.
In many countries there is this habit of hanging out in shopping centers, wasting time, money, brain, products and polluting.
Here libraries are a richer, more enjoyable place to be.

ART vs TECH PEOPLE
We are keen to think that creative people is fun and laugh all the time while persons in science and religion are always serious and sad. Actually, often the opposite happens. People that does ‘serious’ jobs are quite open to jokes and fun, maybe especially because they want to get out their serious environment.

PUBLIC BIKES SHORT PERIOD RENTAL TOO EXPENSIVE

Public Bike sharing is something that should be tourist friendly–they are the ones that need a bike for short and don’t want to buy one–.
The average tourist stays in Copenhagen for two/three days, paying 25kr/hour is really expensive, it’s equal to about 3,5 euros.
The monthly subscription is quite interesting: 70kr/month and the first half hour is free.

You should make the one-day subscription for maximum 10kr a day and weekly 30kr without having to pay extra if you use the bike for less than 30 minutes each time.

In Paris, Seville, London, and many other cities you pay about two euros/day with the first 30 min free.

CYCLING INFRASTRICUTRE
Impressive, but I can still list stuff to improve:
– Narrow bike lanes
– Bus stops on the bike lanes
– Cars going on the bicycle Lane to turn right
– Too long waiting for traffic lights
– Not all the city is cyclable
Yes, I lived nearby Holland.

LIVING IN CHRISTIANIA
Hunting for accommodation in Copenhagen is quite a mission impossible.
After long hours of online research and many emails, I find something, in Christiania!
It’s a big room in a factory building which has been transformed into an apartment. It’s a historical, cultural, living example of Copenhagen Lifestyle and changing urbanisation habits.

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The same happens to many buildings in Christiania years ago, when a bunch of artistic, creative, good-hearted, revolutionary people, started to occupy buildings, creating the current “free-town”.
It’s typical for many alternative areas of Copenhagen, I have been lucky to have a true feeling of Christiania-like accommodation.

ONE HOUSE, TWO HOUSES, THREE HOUSES
Most accommodations in Copenhagen are like this: Plants, white framed windows, white furniture as bee’s nest. In every house.

20170201_140920.jpgANIMAL’S RIGHTS AND SOCIAL

Animals rights and human rights are strongly linked, not just because we as human are ‘social animals’ with the same needs of animals, but also cause you can evaluate the quality of a government by the animal welfare. I am not surprised to see that in Denmark, regardless a quite carnist society, there is strong fermentation for animal rights.

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PEOPLE’S KITCHEN COPENHAGEN
Free collaborative dinner, organized by no profit associations of volunteers

MONDAY
18:30Folkets Hus, Outdoors (Vegetarian)
Stengade 50, 2200 Kbh. NV.
“There is a box for donations, the proposal is 20 kr. You eat outside, so wear clothes on cold months. The food is rarely dumpster-dived. Vegetarian.
Ragnhildgade 1, 2100 Copenhagen
Is an asylum and refugee political café with hosted in The Candy Factory.
TUESDAY

19:00 – Kafa-X
Korsgade 19, kælderen, 2200 Kbh. N.
“20 kr. Come at 16:00 and help with the food and get a free meal. You can also take the dishes out.  The food does not come from the trash, but they get discarded vegetables from the greengrocer. Vegan.”

18:00 – Kraftwerkts Folgekokken
Valgårdsvej 2, 2500 Valby  (Right next to Toftegårds Plads).
“Bus 4a and 1a run straight to the door, and otherwise, it takes about 5 min to walk from Valby station. Would you like to help plan and cook the kitchen? Send an email to kwfolkekoekken@gmail.com.

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WEDNESDAY
19:00Café Bumzen 
Baldersgade 20-22, 2200 Kbh. N.
“There is no payment required, but the payment proposal is 20 kr. They also want a hand with the food. It may well be cold in there, take an extra shirt or two in the winter months! Some of the food is dumpsterdived. Vegan.”

17:30-20:00 Støberiet
Blågårds Plads 3, 2200 Kbh. N., tlf.: 35 35 77 70.25
“25 kr. For vegetarian. I do not know if it’s vegan-friendly option.”

THURSDAY
19:00
Ungeren
Dortheavej 61, 2400 Kbh. NV.
“Go at 15:00 and help if you want to have a free meal. Otherwise about 20 kr. (Sometimes 25 kr.) The most luxurious folk kitchen in Copenhagen.  Sign up for Dortheave’s Folkekoek on Facebook and get to know the menu in advance. The ingridients are not from dumpsters. Sometimes you can buy a cake for dessert. Vegan.”

19:00 – Christiania, by Loppe-bygningen (there is a sign)
“20 kr / wash the dishes after eating and you can freely make use of the remaining bread. Vegetarian, but vegans are taken into account.”

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FRIDAY
18:30Cafe N,
Blågårdsgade 17, 2200 København N.
“25 kr. Non dumpsterdived food. Vegan.”

19:00The Candy Factory (Bolsjefabrikken)
Lærkevej 11, 2400 København NV.
“You can come and help make the food from at. 16-17. Both vegetarian and vegan.”

SATURDAY
12:00-16:00 – Foodsharing Copenhagen (indoors)
Grønttorvet 64, 2500 København
“Check the calendar on facebook to be sure of the date/time. Foodsharing Copenhagen invites you once again to share rescued / donated food in a fair matter! You are invited to come by between 12pm and 4pm and pick up food for yourself, your friends, neighbors and family! It is getting cold outside, therefore we are moving inside for this special event and next to our regular food distribution, we want you to have a good time as well, so feel free to stay for some hot drinks and a hyggeligt atmosphere. =) PLEASE BRING also the food that you would throw away at home to prevent your own food waste!”

SUNDAY
12:00Folkets Hus, Stengade 50, 2200 Kbh. N.
“Brunch! 25 kr. Check the website for dates. Vegetarian but with a fair vegan selection. The ingredients for the food can be from the bins.”

14:00Kageorgie (First Sunday of every month)
Ungeren, Dortheavej 61, 2400 Kbh. NV.,
“Donation Based. I was there the first time they made it and it was insane! There were so many cakes! Sumptuous. Vegan.”

Ragnhildgade 1, 2100 Copenhagen
Is an asylum and refugee political café with hosted in The Candy Factory.


So, have you been in Copenhagen?
Wanna tell me your opinion about this design city? Write a comment!

What is the difference between a homeless and a traveler?

A woman and a boy sleeping on a the aligned chairs of an airport

Here I tell you my thoughts about this topic and also my experiences.
I have been going around as a nomad for years and even television and newspaper wrote about me regarded as a homeless.

 

While traveling, aren’t we homeless?

We may have an ‘home’ somewhere, but it’s also possible that we are traveling for long and we have given it away or have no access to it anymore.
Even an homeless may have an home or a family somewhere in the world, but it does not make the situation better, they may have been victim or family abuse or similar problems.

The society accepts us, travelers, probably because we are seen as people with money to spend, we (often)have a temporary accommodation, we don’t seem sad and we will ‘leave soon’; or so is supposed to be.

Even if you are in such a unstable situation as not being in your country, when you are a traveler you are not feeling down because you are enjoying the trip.
During my trips I have often crossed my road with homeless persons, sometimes I have heard their story and tried to help, but I have never done enough I guess.
Being with limited financial capabilities and without a roof on you head of course is one of the worst situations that can happen.
The feeling of being without a place is hard to understand if you don’t experience it.

That’s why I spent awhile without contacting any host (or hostel) and relied on nature or goodwill of randomly met people.


–I got some interviews from national Finnish media, which are maybe the most honest medias of the world, still they where not really accurate and I seemed as a desperate in the pictures. So try to imagine what kind of disruption, or destruction, of reality media from other countries would show you.–

From one’s point of view this kind of lifestyle can be called “Absolute Freedom”,  from another perspective it could be a nightmare for many others.
Is hard, sad and humiliating to be in such a situation where you have no money to pay a rent, where you are in the street, in the cold (sometimes freezing and rainy), looking for shelter and food.
People and institution, especially in western-northern countries, are keen to help you, but not always, not in the way one needs.
Mostly the help you get is a superficial or materialistic aid: a shelter for few days–oftentimes you need even  to pay for it–a bit of food, some compassionate words.

I think that who is in the street needs, of course, first of all a shelter and food, but, immediately after he needs more than this.
Because the reason why he/she–or “han”, in the non-sexist Finnish language–is in the street can be often a psychological one, I guess that someone is there cause he does not feel  “cared for”, and probably didn’t connect strongly enough with others or something special.

The more in need, the less help

Would’t you think that when someone is in the street, without a place where to go, other people would help him?
Would it not be rational, logic and fair to see resources, good will and care for who needs it?
Surprisingly enough, many people DON’T help. Often it happens that the more the person needs help, the less he gets it.
We love to help people like us, people that has something in common with us. So, who would admit to himself to have something in common with an homeless or a ‘poor’ person?
Probably not plenty people would think that and this makes people refraining from getting any close to the ones most in need.


I was “homeless” myself and I felt down, even if I have mostly a strong character and I am a social person


Article on a popular national Finnish newspaper ‘Helsingin Sanomat’

I did an experiment on myself, I decided to not rent any place and not to rely on money for few months. Later I will write more about the daily life of this period, but now I want to concentrate few lines about the relation homeless/traveler.

The thing that made me having quite much concern about homeless people is that while experiencing myself to be a ‘homeless’, I was feeling down, depressed unsupported, and still I was really lucky because:
I do have a home somewhere in the world,
I do have a family that loves me,
I have friends,
I have social skills,
I know how to survive in extreme situations,
I do have some savings,
I choose to be ‘homeless’, I can ‘opt out’ from my situation in any time,
I have a computer and smartphone in order to get information’s and communicate,
I have all tools to live wherever I am: sleeping bag, sleeping pad,
I am EU Citizen, “sadly” privileged in terms of migration;

…and anyhow I was feeling often extremely weak without my own place where to go.

No home, feeling free?

I had the wish to feel free, I wanted to have no roots and no place to relay on, to be as free as a “bird”.
I was just roaming around, finding a place to sleep on the last moment…
Yes, it could have been funny, it was sometimes.
But in our society, with our level of domestication, we often need to have one place, even a small point, which we account as our space, our “home”.
Missing this place can distress, overwhelm and make us feel highly vulnerable; and so I felt.

Humans = social, or not?

Let’s not forget that Humans are Social Animals, the social component is quite strong, we need constant positive social contacts in order to not get depressed.

Causes of homelessness

In our society we have alcoholism, drugs abuse, gambling, military service, being incarcerated, unhealthy food and other addictions that ruins millions of lives, but after my experience, I would say that what really makes homeless happen are the following:

– Exclusion
Classit society, economical injustice. We all want to be superior to someone else, that’s why we use the homeless as a reason to be proud of ourselves: we are not homeless = we are succeeding better than others(homeless) = we are proud of ourself, even if we are much worse than a homeless as human being.

– Egoism
People address homeless as parasite that want to live for free, not understanding how nice those persons may be and how big troubles they have to get into society.

– Indifference
When we see a homeless, we think that the problem does not belong to us, we often don’t even notice them anymore, people steps on them carelessly, both metaphorically and literally.

– Bureaucracy
Numerous social welfare systems fail to address homelessness, they pretend the homeless would do paperwork– and often–would have documents of the same city where he is, which is the exact reason of the homelessness: People lacking social skills to do paperwork, people moving from one place to another; in other words, the system that we have which should take care of the homeless, is itself the reason of the homelessness. This happens even in countries with great social institutions (Finland, Denmark, Belgium).


Mental health and addictions

Often people in the street have Psychological or alcohol problems, but not always!
Those persons are not harmful, at least most of the times.
Just in few cases they may be hard to approach, in such situations,  well skilled persons–with knowledge of psychology–should get in touch with them. Not Police.

How to help a homeless

What I did myself is started several self-created small projects about helping persons in the streets, I have also joined existing communities, In the Dominica Republic I have met people from Assoartca, a street music school in the street, for everyone.
I have helped a bit with Food Sharing in Copenhagen, which is an organization to share food that would be wasted otherwise.
I made a Small Guide about living with little money and I try to share those information’s with people that needs it.

BE-Cyclo Bike Social Workshop Cafe

One of the next project I am realizing, which will effectively help.
Where people can repair a bicycle by them-self, but the place also provide activities and support to those without a shelter.


Street surfers action, let’s help our friends “host-less”


 

I have organized several times meetings to sensibilize and actively help who is in the street.

It was an event on Couch Surfing, this was written in the meeting page:

“Don’t you think that the people on the street could have been maybe your friends or relatives?
Is not just because I want to be Philanthropic, but because I don’t enjoy myself if people around me don’t do it neither.
It’s cold outside, it’s even colder when people behave indifferent to your problems.

The practical plan of the socio-meetings is:
“We aim at taking someone home for one week (food and accommodation), make him a workaway (woofing or helpex profile) & BeWelcome profile.
Teach them basic urban survival techniques: BeWelcome, Dumpster diving, Hitchhiking, Bicycling (find, buy and use bicycles).

We can see to find a way for them to get to them new au pair host or a new cs host.

If anything happens with your new street csers guests just post it in the event page, other members will jump into the problem to help you (and him eventually).

Of course nobody is forced to do anything, but if we make a strong group we can help each other and win the cause…”
HELPING HOMELESS IS LIKE DATING
To help in the best way a homeless you should should behave as you are in a date. You should approach the person in an non invasive way and start a casual conversation.
It’s relieving for society to think that the homeless is in the street because he chooses to be outside, excluded.
The truth is that we are excluding them.
TREAT THEM AS A FRIEND
You should talk to a homeless just as you are talking to a normal person, like a friend.
Don’t talk in first instance about their problems, first try to get to know them with random talks and just afterwards you can ask a bit about their past.

HELP ONE AT THE TIME
Helping someone means a regular commitment, you should find one person that you wanna help and go regularly to visit, seeing what you can do for him and with the time find possible solution for his homelessness.
A short visit every two-three days is important, you should also first learn about the problems and find out the possible way of helping.
If the person is able to work you could find match on a volunteering website: WorkAway, HelpX, HoVoS.
Someone that needs medical care may need you to bring them to a hospital, eventually you may contact the city council to seek for solutions.
Don’t pretend to find a solution within one day.

While trying to help someone, I noticed that even my phone, which I reputed smart, has no idea about what it means to be a homeless. while I was editing my phone-book I was adding the number of a person from the street, that I met in the street, the phone showed me the number registered as “home number”, ironically it was stored this way, even if this person has no home.
Would a phone mind it?
Would you be smarter than a phone?

DOCUMENTS, PERMISSIONS AND BUREAUCRACY
Every government and institution has some kind of support for people in the street, but in the most of the cases it’s not matching their needs. Often you need not just to be citizen, but also to have the residence in a certain city to get even the smallest support.
We can’t accept those barriers.
This bureaucraZy is the exact reason of homelessness, many don’t go through the paper work or are not allowed to.
We need just to make one rule: Sleeping on a bed is a fundamental human right and regardless of the background of the person, all have the rights to have a bed at least, if not a house!

What is worse? To think without do or to do without thinking?
I am really curious to know your point of you, what is for you the difference between an homeless and a traveler?
Write it in the comment!

Homelessness in Kiev, an hard Critique to Ukrainian Society

A woman with a kart full of bags

 

This is dedicated to many people in this world, plenty of us who think to be smart, good, and helpful for the society, but fail to be human.

How many times you have seen a homeless in the street?
How many times you really did something to help?
How many times you talked to this person?

Did you ever ask any of these questions to yourself?

Many, too many, are left in the streets carelessly. Too many are abandoned to their destiny. While you worry about buying a new car and call yourself poor because you can’t afford the last model.

Which is the bottom?

Reaching the bottom of the bottom.

Sometimes you feel unhappy because something negative happened to you. Well, feel released, feel lucky to have just one bad thing happening:

– Four-five persons assault me, fighting, to steal my phone.
– Finances go down steeply.
– The bag where I have everything, since years, my only bag, gets stolen in Finland, the safest country of the world.
– I start to lose sight on my right eye and I probably need an operation.
– Rain comes straight inside my house in through the roof. After repairing it, and three other contractor’s interventions, still rains inside.
– My father falls down and breaks his hip, risking his life.
– I get to know that my father didn’t pay taxes for years and now I may have to pay for him.
– Backhome, our minibus goes on fire by itself the day after we were about to sell it
– I make an accident with my bicycle and I destroy both mine and the bike of the guy who was driving in my direction.
– I discover to be an actor for a pro-War pro-Russian propaganda television.
– My friend commits suicide before I am able to talk to him.

This is what happened to me lately, still, I am lucky, because I always end up having a place where to sleep finding people who would help me. But not everyone has the same luck as me and you. Neither same social skills.

Want to know what it means to be unlucky?

The man in the video has been living in the streets for six years, once he shows his legs you can see his skin completely open.

In all those years neither the institutions, neither the people have helped him enough.
Why don’t we reflect more about the problem of homelessness and search for solutions? We could help each other and pretend from our politicians the basic, fundamental, right of shelter, food and healthcare for the weakest.

 

Life is heavy“- is his most used sentence.

I met Mikhail–which is not his real name–in a subway and felt directly that he is a really kind, sensitive, human being; he is an artist as well: painter, philosopher and dreamer.
He ended up in the street because he left his country, hostile to him, having major health issues: sight problems, huge legs ulcers, weakness.
He has no family to back up on.
When I asked him about his problems, and his too heavy bag to carry with his sick legs, I said: “your bag is too heavy”, he replied: “live is heavy”.
“You are a good human”, Mikhail was repeating often to me, I was simply replying: “I am a normal human, while the people that don’t care is unhuman”.

Is the homeless the cancer of the society? or is maybe the wealthy one the real problem?
The rich sucking up all resources for the benefit of himself and few others.

 

 

Mikahil needed medical help and also psychological support. His legs were almost not able to sustain him anymore. I walked him to the hospital to search for help, I hoped they would be kind to him, but I was wrong. After a long walk under the rain, many slaloms around holes in the sidewalks and cars driving straight to you, we arrived at the hospital.
Mikhail pointed to a Pharmacy and told me that we should first buy some medicines. I thought it was a way for him to avoid the Hospital and I told him: ” I am not that naive to believe that we are supposed to go to the hospital needing to provide ourselves medicines…”.
We had a long discussion in front of the pharmacist, the saleswoman started even to get annoyed and was screaming something in ukrainian hinting that Mikhail was right.
Once we got to the hospital room, I finally believed Mikhail, because the first thing that the doctor asked about was medicines, and money, in black.

After a while in the street you get inevitably an odor. I could judge the distance between me and him by this smell. In the hospital I get a disturbance of this smell-distance-feeling, because all the clinic smells, exactly as someone who has been in the street for a while. Then I understood in what kind of place I was.

They helped a little, with a lot of hesitation and without much will. We were kicked out immediately after, as I was asking some more informations about Mikhail the medical staff started threatening us to call police if we would not leave.

-At the we ended up learning how to cure his ulcers by ourselves. Thanks to the help of two wonderful friend of mine, which are nurses: Margo and Pati, we managed to do some self medication.-

We adopt dogs, cats, all kind of animals, we adopt people by distance and we can’t adopt or help a homeless 100 meters away from us?

You,
You sleeping in a bed every night, you that have always had food and a place where to stay. You passing in front of a homeless thinking that it’s not your problem.

You are the problem,
You are the issue, by being indifferent to the one who needs the most, the smelly one in the street. Your indifference is the cancer of the world and I have no respect at all for you. You are worthless and disgusting.

The wealthier you are, the more disgusting you become.
The rich richer and the poor poorer.
This has to change.
Soon!

 

As Mikhail, many others in the street are searching for humanity. When they ask you for a coin, they are not pretending to be rich at your damage, they just ask you to consider them as living things. If you don’t want to give them a coin, give them the chance to exist, talk to them and ask how you can help them, even just that.

SOLUTIONS?
We should simply be human and talk to the one asking for help, even if they ask just for money, still we should see how we can help.
Why not invite them at home for lunch? for a shower? or even to sleep?
You can start by asking him what he needs and give him maybe a gift.

Arsenalna – Nadia



RESOURCES FOR THE HOMELESS IN KIEV
(ordered from Useful –> Useless)


From this list you can actually understand that there is no real shelter for homeless in Kiev. Many of those organization provide extremely limited services and often just to locals with the right papers.

  • UKRAINIAN CHARITY FUND
    (Social Partnership)
    Lobachevsky lane 8-a, 02090
    www.socpartnerstvo.org
    info@socpartnerstvo.org
    044 591 5443
    044 591 5444
    0679117911 (service with car) – Called: speak english, friendly.
    I Visited them:they are friendly, providing normally help to people with documents, but are flexible. They have no sleeping place to offer but they offer free food, showers, washing clothes, medical support, clothing and some paperwork service.
  • DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL POLICY
    Ave Komarova, 7, m. Kyiv, 03165
    https://kievcity.gov.ua/content/89_departament-sotsialnoji-polityky.html
    I visited them: they were friendly, got explained that they just provide help for homeless from Kiev, with documentation.
    STEFANIA
    0679117911 – Called: not speaking english. 
  • MUNICIPALITY SHELTER
    Суздальская, 4/6
    18.00- 20.00 cost 20 gri.
    1551 – Called: not speaking english
    I wanted to visit them, but: they are located at one hour from Kiev with public transport, you probably need documents and you have to pay.
    Mikhail told me:  there are bandits there, it’s dangerous 
  • CENTER FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE
    (Центр обліку бездомних громадян)
    Lane hyperbolic 8a  404-08-99
    https://sites.google.com/site/centroblikubezdomnihgromadan/
    They just help to make documents.
    It’s not Hyperbolic, but Hyper Bureaucratic, not welcoming, just for locals, and you have even to pay. 
  • CARITAS
    Ivana Mykytenka St, 7Б, Kyivs’ka oblast, 02000
    info@caritas-kiev.org.ua
    044 512 00 85 – Called: They don’t speak english.
    I visited them: Really warm and welcoming, but no services for homeless people, they help only families escaping from war.
  • EVANGELICAL MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION
    Valery Kupriy
    Zacrevscogo str. 7-182, 02217
    044 5461039 – Called: no answer on saturday and on tuesday
    Wanted to visit, but nobody knows where this place is.
    This place is still listed as resource for Homeless but it actually does not exist.


 

This may sound as a really harsh article about this topic, but I can’t keep those words from myeself, I really can’t when I see these people in the street and at the same time so many luxurious cars and posh people walking around like in a modeshow.


Thanks Margo’ and Pati to be nurse by distance helping Mikhail a lot.

Donald Trump should be living with 150$ a month, like many in south America

A man sleeping in the street with no shoes

 

Being like a Caribbean for a month: Dream or Nightmare?

For Mr. Donald Trump it may be a fairy tale, surrounded by women, luxurious yachts and servants.

What if I tell you: “I am living like someone from the Dominican Republic”?
Would you consider me a poor or a rich person?

The answer is in the question, which means that I am either poor or rich, there is not much between.
Extreme poverty is rampant in  the most of south-central America. Meaning that people have no home, not enough money for food, water or health.
Still, you see plenty of extremely expensive cars and posh people living in their luxurious villas  with the very poor just few hundred meters away.
This is what will become of US if Trump is elected.

Colonialism, Christianity, Capitalism and Corruption, the poisoning cocktail with the four “C”; this is the busine$$ plan of Donald Trump.

Walking around many south American countries, you can’t miss men, of all ages, playing domino with a table right in the middle of the street, big cucarachas on the sidewalk, kind street vendors that sell anything, poverty: the result of political corruption, coming out here and then with the shape of a human being.

There is no balance, here you have to pray god (the most people is strongly Christian) to not get sick, because if you do, you will need a lot of money to cure yourself in a private clinic.
Cars drive like there is no tomorrow, it’s not hard to get hit by a car, and if you are poor, you would be without a leg, in the street,  for the rest of your life. With no social support from the institutions.Begging money to buy food.

Food in the supermarket is more expensive than in Europe or the US, in some cases is the double.
A piece of bread may cost two dollars, but the most of the people earn 150 $ per month,  ten times less than in the USA, that’s equal of 1/20 buying power difference, in a place where institutions help the rich and nearly nothing is public or free: Hospitals, Universities, Social Care, they are made just for the rich.

I test on myself how it feels like to live with 150 dollars per month in the Dominican Republic, because this is the salary the lower class gets, including public officers.
It’s hard, complicated and frustrating, I don’t even count in the 150$ the accommodation, cause I already arranged it outside that budget.
It’s actually harder to live here with this average ´salary’ than in Europe or the US with no salary.


The Ass, the only thing Trump is not racist with.

The most ironic thing is, that in the Dominican Republic, I start to feel the need of money, food, and services. While for the public opinion ,this place is supposed to be cheap and affordable.

The most ironic thing is, that in the Dominican Republic, I start to feel the need of money, food, and services. While for the public opinion ,this place is supposed to be cheap and affordable.

I have done one week of “technical fasting”, which I also did to keep my expenses low but I need even to do a second “technical fasting”, because of my budget.
Even more ironically, during my fasting, while taking a course to improve my Spanish skills, I get to the ‘food and eating’ chapter of my study course, which is not helping my hunger.
This country has been the toughest one to live as a freegan. Even for me, born in a big south Italian family, where the fridge was often empty because of the bad financial’s administration of my father. But being in such a situation with a whole family is different than being alone, it could be both better or worse.

I often have the wish to give small amounts of money to the ones in need that I punctually meet in the street, sometimes I do it, but doing it means having less to eat myself, cause my budget allows me barely to have enough to buy my own food and water.
This is actually a good training to understand what sharing means, it means to give what you have, even if you then have less for yourself. The privation of what you don’t necessarily need.

When I go to the market, doing some bargain, sellers ask me where I am from, I answer saying I am partially Dominican partially North African (which is not completely a lie), at this point they look at me with open wide eyes and give me the lowest price.

POLITICIANS IN SANTO DOMINGO
Politics affiches are everywhere to see, I even saw an ambulance doing political propaganda with stickers of a certain party. They have great political speakers here; this is the best they can do: to speak.
How can those politicians allow higher classes to thrive while there are kids, young boys, in the street asking for FOOD? Not even money, they simply ask for food and they are skinny, the most of them clean shoes in order to get few cents, which are never enough to buy a meal.
While walking along the beach I see one of them asking some people a bit of food, those persons had plenty, but they were not really keen to give him much.
While walking along the beach I see one of them asking some people a bit of food, those persons had plenty, but they were not really keen to give him much.
In this country, you don’t have drinkable water in the tap, neither you have fountains to drink, to get drinkable water you have to pay for it.
At home–for those who have one–you don’t even have a centralized water system, but a truck has to come and refill the tanks of those who can afford to have water, non-drinkable of course.
Many people drink non-clean water just because they can’t pay to buy it.
I am saving even drops of water because otherwise, I am not able to get within my budget.
I have witnessed people refilling their bottles from the rich one´s garden, risking to get diseases just to drink any water. To survive.

Many good political speakers talk to people in squares to convince them to vote for their party. I have to admit, they are quite attractive, as speakers. But not as men: the people does not really love to get involved in politics, they are disinterested in the topic, because “politicians are all the same” they say.
I would say that politics it’s like getting building works at home : if you are are not participating in the process or not pay attention, the professionals may mess up things quite a bit.

DISEASES
There is a mosquitos-diseases emergency in Santo Domingo and all Caribbeans, I went to the supermarket to search for a repeller, the cheapest one, in sales, costs almost ten dollars. It may last for one month. I am not surprised Dengue Fever, malaria, chikungunya and zika viruses are out of control. How can a poor–or average–person afford to avoid or cure it if they don’t even have clean water?
I am even developing the skill to kill mosquitos by hands in order to protect myself from those diseases. Mosquitos here fly really fast and they are really silent.
I am walking every day, and night, for about four hours, everywhere in the city. It´s shocking to see luxury villas just few hundred meters away from the ´favelas’, areas where many sleep in the street and have no more than few bricks or a field as a toilet.
I see a man, woman and kids nearly naked in an abandoned piece of land that they use as ‘home’, the smallest kid could be three years old, she does her physiological needs a couple of meters next to the space where they sleep, all in open air, on dirty grass surrounded by garbage.
In the marginal districts of Santo Domingo, which are the biggest part of the city, the most people live between trash, feces, and dogs. The only exception is for the Historical Center and few other streets where the higher class lives their fairy life.
Garbage collection is done by big trucks, which drive around with a couple of persons taking the trash with bare hands and pieces of wood sometimes, throwing the trash to the top of the vehicle. Often they jump inside the pile of trash to reduce its volume.If the area is in a poor neighborhood, they don’t collect all the trash of the street. The most common trash to find in the streets is the soft,foamy, plastic food case that eateries (comedor) give. In many places the most people is not educated about not throwing trash in the street, recycling does not exist.
Electricity is not always working, in average you have a blackout every couple of days, or daily. In all the city–the capital–, paradoxically you can see street lights on all day round, even with a bright sun–just in the rich streets, of course, don’t get me wrong–.

Water is also not always available and even the higher class may not have hot water. This is actually the least problematic thing, cause the temperature rarely goes below 25 degrees celsius, the perfect temperature for insects to reproduce.

 

CHRISTIANITY AND CARS ARE AT EVERY STEP

Almost one car on five has a sticker about Maria, Jesus or God. The church has been forcibly imported and took a big place in society. This is the common factor for the people here, poor and rich, they all believe in Christianity and want to display it. You may find cars with no number plates, driving like crazy possibly killing anything in front of them, but showing a plate with a biblical aphorism.

Cars are everywhere, the air is well aromatized with exhaust gas flavor and you don’t have to worry about dying of cancer because you will probably end up hit by a car before cancer can progress.
That’s also a demographic control from the government I guess.
Big, luxurious churches are displaying the power of God, a big power, but not strong enough to fight poverty, or actually they do fight poverty, and they won the war against poverty, internal poverty, cause the churches have never been poor themselves, they rather keep poverty outside their doors, I am not sure this was what Jesus was teaching.

 

THE POSH UPPER CLASS INDIFFERENT AND FEELING SUPERIOR

The wealthy neighborhoods have well maintained clean streets, luxurious cars, expensive shops and people dressed in brand clothing. Many of those persons don’t seem to be noticing the problem of poverty, or at least, they don’t do much to balance their wealth.
How can you feel proud of yourself inside a sportive Porsche, while you see from the black windows of your supercar, five years old children begging or an older woman homeless peeing in her pants because she has not even where to do it?

Maybe the black windows of your car are not just made to protect you from the sun, but also from the shame of being indifferent and a parasite?  Those black glasses are not enough to isolate you from the poor, even your high-class hotel, resort, shopping mall, business center, it will not isolate you keeping you out of responsibility.
If you can help someone next to you, but you don’t do it, you are guilty.
There are always ways to help, even just talking.

 

PEOPLE AND BUSINESS

The only place where they’ve tried to cheat me so far it’s a big posh supermarket, where they tried to charge me more at the counter.
While in the markets, where poorest people is, I always get better prices than the one for locals.

 

DARK, BLACK, MORE BLACK, BLACKER

Talking with Dominican people I discover that they like Europeans, especially Spanish, even if during the colony time Spanish people massacred all the local population.
The just love white people.
Maybe that’s why they like them, because there is no autoctone anymore who cares about the matter.
By looking at the face of the people you can easily see that the most are a mix of European and African, having dark skin.
No traces of the native people.
In spite of the fact that most of the population is brown/black, still, Dominicans make huge differences between the level of ‘skin darkness’.
It seems that the darker you are the more you are marginalized.
Locals point at the darkest persons as “African”, too dark to have mixed up with the European in the past and probably from Haiti.

While in a basketball game with kids, I am told by pubers that the darkest ones are African–born in Santo Domingo but originally from Haiti–and they are less smart than brown people.
I tell them that I am a bit North African, as every south-Italian is–because of Hannibal–they are quite surprised and don’t answer.

 

WHO IS ACCOUNTABLE

I was talking to Esperanza, a sweet old lady that lives in the streets since a while, I was telling her that she could do some volunteering in exchanging for a bed and food. A woman nearby, just passing, that heard about this ‘work’,  interrupted  my conversation and told me: “I want to do it, she does not need it because she lives in the street and she is used to this lifestyle, she would not wake up on time to work”.

Hearing that is  actually really sad, because even common people, from average income families, are thinking that once someone is in the street, has to end his life in the streets. While Esperanza was really interested in ending her homelessness.

The passing woman was arguing that Esperanza is adapted to street life and this is supposed to be until the end of her life, because in this ‘gentlewoman’ mind, the homeless lifestyle would give Esperanza freedom, more liberty than living in a house.

I am quite sure that woman never slept in the street, otherwise, she would not link freedom with social margination as result of a capitalistic, egoistic society.

It’s easy to be indifferent and say that the poor is in that condition because of himself, that they are lazy, criminals, drug addicted and maybe they even have more money than a middle-class person but they hide it. This kind of thinking is what I hate the most.

Each person in the street is different, each of them has a different problem, which is mostly psychological, physical and economical. But what they need for sure is help, respect, and consideration, each of them in a different way.
Whom to blame if a child of eight years is in the street with no food, no water, no place? We may say their family, they were not supposed to make a child if they didn’t have the resources to let him grow. But if the family didn’t have the education to know enough about it, if the family didn’t even have condoms or didn’t technically know how to prevent pregnancy. If maybe the family is not even there, who is accountable?
We can say the state and institutions of course, but who is accountable to watch and push state and institutions to do the right thing?
We are all responsible, starting from the richest, which is using the most resources.

We can do many things to fight poverty, the first is to choose honest politicians with a program to have the rich pay for who has no money. We don’t just have to give a vote, we have also to participate and keep an eye on the results, providing feedback.

We can help the people next door, if you see someone in need for some food, give them food.
If you see someone needing clothes, give them clothes.
The most of us have a bathroom, people in the street don’t, we can offer them to take a shower.
If someone is needing some social contact or psychological help, talk to that person.

Ah, another thing you can do to save the planet, if you don’t want a world of tramps, DON’T VOTE TRUMP.

Foodsharing Copenhagen

People standing in front of boxes full of vegetables.

Food waste is something that should not happen . Not just because it’s a pity to waste that money, but because growing food pollutes, using precious resources and the effects are worldwide . We also can’t accept that in a society there are persons with not enough means to buy food, while others put good food in the garbage .

If you want to collaborate in this project in Copenhagen, please have a look on:
http://foodsharingcopenhagen.weebly.com

 

ANCIENT COMMUNITIES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS

We all think that social community and sharing economy are modern concepts,it is actually not true at all. Since ancient times human community have used developed sharing systems such as give free accommodation to each other and exchange of goods. One main example it’s the hospitality traditions, which always supported helping each other and sharing.

 

SEARCHING FOR ALIENS

We search, explore and go around the universe to search for other forms of life, but still we didn’t manage to live in harmony with life we have on earth.
Hopefully we will meet aliens just when we learned how to live with each other as humans.

 

TECHNOLOGY VS NATURE

How to know when tech is going against nature?
Well, one easy attitude would be to use technology to better understand and follow nature’s rules.

 

NOTHING TO FIGHT FOR

If your grandparents fought for your rights, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to fight for the rights of your children.

 

If there is food in your dish, it does not mean that there is no hunger in the world.

Cycling naked into the world’s most radioactive area: Chernobyl

Wooden bridge with slit in the middle

Cycling through the Radioactive area of Chernobyl and ghost towns

I start cycling from Minsk and I go south to Ukraine, I pass nearby Chernobyl: Naroulia–one of the most radio-contaminated city of the world–, the Radioecological reserve Polesky and the nuclear ghost town of Poliske (Ukraine), which is between two military checkpoints.
Many dangers on the way, but the radioactivity pollution is not the biggest.
The Belarusian army, police, wild animals, falling apart bridges, injuries and even lack of drinkable water was what made the cycling challenging.

LUKASHENKO

It’s like an authoritarian father, not allowing his children to do anything he does not like them to do.
I feel it from his army and police, so close minded and standardized.

THE HIERARCHIC WRONG FAIRYTALE OF CINDERELLA

Belarus make me think of fairytales.
Children’s stories that can make kids adults heroes, or just robots, depending on the content of the narration.
Let’s take Cinderella as example, an apparent nice story.
But there is a manipulative teaching: kids learning that a prince or a king is more important than a common person.
Cinderella wants to get out of her poverty through marrying a prince. This is not just sexisst but higly hierarchic and non meritocratic.

If there would be no prince there would be no poor ladies like Cinderella.

GETTING INTO TROUBLES WITH BELARUSIAN ARMY

To take a shortcut, I go through the forest, crossing a falling apart bridge I see a strange field in front of me: it’s not forest, neither cultivated, on the map is shown just as a gray area. I go into it to cross it.
I see big holes on the ground and I have a strange feeling.

All the patterns marked on the map don’t match the real path and I am stuck in this place. I decide to camp there for the night, feeling a bit worried.

During the night I hear trucks passing, I look more carefully out of the tend and I spot a destroyed war tank far from me.
I start thinking I may be somewhere where I should not be!

In the morning I am awaken by a big military truck passing, a soldier with three stars on is jackets comes out of it, telling me, ‘almost friendly’, that I am in a military exercitation camp, where they are shooting with fantery and heavy weapons. He tells me to leave asap.
I thank him and I leave, I think that he was quite kind to have just told me to leave without even asking who I am.

After two kilometers there is a checkpoint, with soldiers and the man I spoke previously was there waiting for me, he politely tells me that I have to be interrogated.

I am ready for interrogation and I am quite happy to be alive, not aware that the interrogation will lasts seven hours and I am asked about EVERYTHING.
They check all my stuff, included my private pictures on my phone, emails, facebook and all you can find on my google account.
The find some naked pictures of me, where I promote Cyclonudista, and tell me that pornography is illegal in Belarus, I tell them that that’s just my body as I was born.

At the end I am told that a truck will come to pick me up and bring me “on the right way…”.


After another half hour a truck comes, I am helped to get inside of it with my bicycle, there are soldiers with weapons in it.
I am not able to see outside, it’s dark and I am about to vomit for the shaking and the dust.
I can now understand a little what animals in cages feel when they are transported from one place to another, I understand why many of them die on the way. I almost wished to die myself on that truck.
I am worried and paranoid, I think  that they would harm or even kill me. They seem too kind to be true.
The truck stops, the same people who inspected me open the door from outside and I am free, for real.
Never felt better in my life.

DOGS AND WILD ANIMALS ON THE WAY

In the tent I clearly hear wolves, I am ready with pepper spray and a metal stick–a detached handlebar–to fight, but luckily they don’t come too near.
Dogs are barking to the wolves all night long. What to know what I think about dogs?
Dogs are the most evident example of human insatisfaction.

I see a farm in front of me, I see people kicking and pulling cows as they are pieces of

EVEN IMPORTANT THINGS ARE EASY TO FORGET

When we change from different situations we can forget really fast, and deeply. We may easily forget all the struggle we were in before, if we are suddenly in a more comfortable situation.
The ones of us with memory for the sad past, the ones that remember also the bad times of others around, the persons that have this sensibility, those are our heroes, those are the ones to whom we have to be grateful.


YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND

When you have a home, you can’t understand homelessness.
When you have a full belly, you can’t understand the hungry one.
When you are healthy, you can understand pain.

I also don’t understand how I am able to cycle: just one week before starting, I do a wrong movement and my back gets blocked, people need to pull me up and lift me for about three days in order to let me move.
My right eye has some loss of sharpness; while cycling I fall down, I hurt my hand and I am not able to use it for all the rest of the trip… But this didn’t stop me.


USSR AND COMMUNISM – UKRAINE OPEN TO EU

Kiev is much different than Minsk or Riga, which both give me USSR, anti western, pro-Putin feeling.

I was more keen to like the Soviet Union before my trips to the Baltics, Belarus and Ukraine.
After the seeing huge economic and social differences even in Belarus, which is the only country in the world that continues on the USSR regime, I am not sure I like this kind of communism. I would not even call it communism, but dictatorship.

I have noticed that freedom of speech is unknown in Belarus, the country is ruled by police with little-no personal liberty.


I would say that among ex-USSR countries, Ukraine is the most open and EU-oriented country, even if there is a long way to go.
While Latvia was the most unfriendly country for western people.

TRAVEL COMPANION

I mostly travel alone because I am often disappointed by travel companions. Some of them pretend to be lovers, but are much better than expected as traveling companionship, much worse than expected as lover.

WAR IN UKRAINE

What’s the difference between a detainee and a soldier?
The only difference is that the soldier can let out his hunger and frustration freely on other people.


EUROPEANS SHOULD LEARN FROM UKRAINIANS

In Ukraine people is not smiling all the times, sometimes they give you the impression of unhappiness. Except this, I have experienced great manners, honesty and really friendly attitude.
Things work well here, public services are smooth and internet is really fast and cheap.

The subway in Kiev works extremely efficiently, it’s clean and everyone is perfectly well educated to stand up from their seats for an older person. The same in the tram, trolley bus and minibus.

Walking at night, even in really dark areas, is totally safe. Nobody bothers you even if is clear that you are a foreigner. 

Police and army people are friendly. They are working hard and will not bother you, in south europe (especially in Italy) this is not the case.

I never felt unsafe or threatened here ,  to be sincere I felt much better that in many European capitals.

Putin’s pranks

This story is about me playing, as actor, something unexpected. After years of Theater I am back in the show…

 

WHY I PLAY
I mostly play for fun, because I like the crew or cause I am sharing the message of the production. I don’t really play just for money; I would not feel comfortable being in a piece that promotes something which I don’t believe in.

 

Scaring people in the streets to prank them
Scaring people in the streets to prank them

 

I think actors should ask themselves why and for whom they play. If they play for the pocket, for enjoyment or for ideals. The more popular an actor is, the more he or she shall be asking himself that question.

It’s since a while that I don’t play theater, neither I act in front of a camera since some months, I feel the lack of involvement in artistic performances making my playing skills fading out. When suddenly… : I am sleeping when I get a message, it’s a Finnish friend asking me to play some candid cameras, pranks in Helsinki, I say ‘yes’!
He tells me that there is a good remuneration for this. I accept and in less than two hours I am with a (fake) needle in my hands playing pranks in the city.
The pranks we play are about paradoxical situations, which include sex invitation, ass shaking, drugs use and questions about personal hygiene. I admit that it is quite superficial and fun.

Playing in the street
Passing people

Playing the whole day gave me back the pleasure to liberate myself and let someone else take control of my body. The camera we were using had no zoom, which made the show more challenging, we had to play with ‘victims’ having the camera few meters away, but still, the majority didn’t realize we were pranking them because of our distraction methods, which consisted in pretending to be TV reporters, when the pranked ones were not paying attention, we would face the camera to them.
After the candid camera we would of course say that it was a prank, asking themes for authorization.
After an initial friction, we get a happy, collaborative feeling among the crew. As producer we have a bizarre person, seeming quite weird in the beginning, but with time, I enjoy working and the time goes fast.
It’s night, we have some food together accompanied by jokes and some brainstorming.
I am happily looking forward to more collaborations of this kind, when I discover something quite unexpected and worrying. I find out that those pranks we just did, were maybe produced fora a media (TV and radio) which is probably involved in pro-Putin propaganda with highly dis-informative Russian governmental exaltation.
The channel that may host the show was accused of misinformation over the war in Ukraine, claiming that Crimea is a Russian territory which Russians have to protect.

Well, Putin it’s a prank himself, I can understand that he may like to show pranks in his channels.