The strong artist that cared more about art than his own life: Peter Kravchenko

During my travels, I have met many extraordinary human beings. By sleeping here and there, I have also witnessed often one of the most horrendous social issues: homelessness.

In Kyiv, I have met Peter, a Russian artist living in the street. 

Peter draws, writes, and creates digital art mostly during the night; In the metro or on the street, as during the day time, usually he seeks for food or medical help. 

He is in a state of abandon from society. Being extremely sick, he can’t use his legs anymore because of chronic leg ulcers, caused by diabetis, and risks to die soon, even though he is pretty young—below 50yo—. 


I met him three years ago, since then, we still keep writing to each other, and Peter keeps me posted with his (dramatic) situation. 

We have held spaces for the exhibition of Peter’s art in two libraries in Helsinki in 2019: during May 2019 at the Oodi library and in July 2019 at Rikhardinkatu library. 

Those iconic libraries are symbols of sensibilization, collectiviness, and help to people, both in Finland and in the world.

The Oodi Library especially is recognized by the international community as a masterpiece of social services to the residents and a jewel of architecture.

The main goal of art exposition is to sensibilize people about homelessness through visual art made by someone sleeping rough himself.

The exhibition displays drawings, poems, music, and videos with screen projections.







Legal aid in Europe – How to make a complaint and claim your rights in EU.

Are you living or traveling in the European Union?
There are a number of rights that you have which you may not be aware of, I make here a short list of some of these rights and I tell you which are the steps you should make in case of legal issues.


It’s your right to film Police

A bruxelles con Alessandra (79).jpg

In the most European countries you have the right to film Police in public, also in the USA it’s allowed.

There are several organization to get informations about your rights for filming Police:

While filming is mostly allowed, once you publish a video, you may want to blur the faces of the policemen.
You should also be aware that if Police is in operation better you keep some distance and discretion while filming, otherwise they may annoy you.


How to claim your rights as a human—or a citizen, traveler of tourist—and make a complaint, “press charges”, “make a report”, to institutions and what to do to escalate it to higher hierarchy levels

Whom to contact

– Higher ranks of the same institution you are complaining about (head offices, etc…)

– Ombudsman of the institution

– General Attorney (if is about Police)

– Regional ombudsman

– National ombudsman

– Traveler rights associations (if it is about travelers)

– Human rights associations (if it is about human rights)

European ombudsman or Online dispute resolution (for online goods/services)

European commission – SolveIT

European Parliament

European President
(for extremely serious matters)

In parallel of this, you could contact a local lawyer (via for example) or the local court if applicable.

FireWorks Atomium - Brussels

INFORMATIONS provides useful and updated information about your rights in the EU. offers services and data about visas



Feantsa, European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless



– Call your Consulate

– Emergency Support Aid International Human Rights line +353 1 21 00 489

Amnesty International +44-20-74135500



Don’t forget that you can always ask for help through any of these online communities:

And, why not, Facebook.

Do you have any information that I missed in this list? Please comment!

Shocking discovery: no shelters for the homeless in Copenhagen!

We all agree that Denmark has one of the best welfare system of the world, right?
Well, I can say that about homelessness, the Danes are still far from perfection. Why?
Read to know!

Pax is not the only one sleeping rough in Copenhagen, as I always wandered around, I have many friends sleeping rough and sometimes, I am a bit homeless myself, that’s why the issue of shelters is quite close to my heart.
I decided to see how easy it is, for a homeless, to find shelter in Copenhagen, the world’s capital of “support to less lucky people”. It took me months to gather some information about shelters here, I have contacted all the people I knew, institutions, organizations, and churches. I have also checked the list of shelters on the dedicated website CopenHelp.
The most shelters just allow people with a cpr number—a registration number you get when you register your domicile in Denmark—or from specific categories: old and sick people, pregnant women, heavy drug users, etc…

I’ve contacted many shelters, just few answered, I post you some of the answers below.


Kofoes Kælder
They just help people aged between 18-29.
“We are a contact place for young homeless people in Copenhagen between the ages of 18-29. We can help you get in touch with proper authorities for solving dole money problems, getting on waiting lists for shelters, medical help, give you directions to other places that have specialised in helping non Danish citizens etc….if you are not a Danish citizen we can also help you get in touch the Copenhagen homeless unit to discuss your travel home and help you with getting id papers and so on for your travels. You are very welcome to come in for a cup of coffee and we can see how we can help you the best way possible”


Kirkens Korshaer
(Stengade 40, 2200 København N)
I send them an email asking if is possible to have shelter on 10/01/2017.
“we offer adults vulnerable citizens shelter. However, I have to know a little more of your background story before we can offer you a room for the night. You are always welcome to contact us at Hillerødgade 62 9 PM for a clarification of your situation.Natcaféen has 30 spaces intended for adult men and women who do not currently be accommodated in a residential facility.It is possible to bring your dog. The café is housed in the inn’s cafeteria and is open all year. It is free to spend the night in the cafe. Natcaféen operated acc. Service Law § 110”
Once I went to visit them, I had no place to sleep myself and I asked if it was possible to sleep there without danish documents, they told me just old and sick people, selected by them, can get inside.

(Baggesensgade 9, 2200 København N)
I have heard this to be the best shelter of Copenhagen, where they are really open and kind to anyone, regardless their documents.
Once I arrived there on a Friday night, the door was closed and nobody answered me at the phone.

Other shelters
I wanted to check out also Natcafeen Sundholm (Sundholmsvej 36) &
Nødherberget (Hørhusvej 5), but I didn’t have the chance to get there.




I always had a computer, good skills to search and communicate, I have friends and family that supports me, in addition, I have some financial resources, and fortuitously, I also have EU citizenship; nevertheless, after arduous and complex researches, I have no clue about where a homeless can go to sleep in Copenhagen.
I don’t even imagine how hard it is for someone that sleeps in the streets, with heavy physical, psychological, social, and economical problems, to find a place where to go.
If you are a homeless in need of care, you wont get much support when you don’t match the criteria of the shelter.
If you are not local or between 29-50yo, you risk to get not support at all.


What do you think when you see a person sleeping in the street?
Do you think it’s fair to leave people sleeping under bridges?
Let me know in the comments.


Street Connections – Getting close to people sleeping rough



A simple, human to human action, to share time and food with people, in the street.



It serves mostly for two causes:

– Create awareness about homelessness

– As sign of humanity and warmth to people sleeping rough




Once a week, we first gather with all the volunteers to prepare food with love; something simple is good enough.
After having a short conversation and planning about who goes where, we go in the streets in small groups, two to three persons in each group.

There is already a map which we can use to find the points where people sleeping rough are.

In an extremely kind, casual and humble way, we approach people sleeping rough, we start a conversation as we would talk to a person in a bar, then we aim at keeping it, about any topic, but we would never ever ask about their problems during the first or second time we meet them. Later on, if we feel confident and we sense that our connection is strong enough, we can start talking about their problems with them, but always trying to let them start the topic first, without pushing.

The next week we do the same, but with more knowledge, experience, and love acquired from the previous time.

Once we have enough information about the problems of our friends in the streets, we can brainstorm for solutions. Every person needs a different solution.

Each of us can propose to follow up one person in the street. This is the most effective way to create something beneficial.

We could, for example, help in making them an account into an accommodation or volunteer platform such as:





The first thing to create is a connection, a bridge, and a humble, true friendship. Even just one connection is enough. Once this is built up, each volunteer can understand situations and problems of people sleeping rough. Just then, there are possible actions that could improve their situation.



It’s not a rescue mission and it does not aim to fix problems instantly. It’s rather a long-term process, where each volunteer decides to open their minds and hearts making friendship with someone who meets mostly indifference and ignorance.  It is about creating an individual and unique relationship.



You are not simply “helping people in the street”, you are actually helping yourself too. From this activity, you may benefit more than the one you meet. It may seem strange but it is true.

Getting connections and understanding realities that you have never imagined to exist, will give you more than you can imagine.



“I feel really excited and tensioned to connect with people sleeping rough. I sometimes give food I have with me but I don’t actually talk with these people.”—Those are the words of a really kind-hearted activist. So, it seems, it’s hard even for highly aware people to connect with the ones in the street.
This may be exactly the same feeling of many others: you want to help, but you find it awkward or even embarrassing to randomly talk to people in the street.
“Street Connections” is a kind of workshop for those, like you, who have a big heart, but feel a bit uncertain about going and talking to rough sleepers.
Being in a sociable group, sharing knowledge and experience, will transform your tension into pleasure.

Copenhagen – Facebook Group – Street Connections


What is worse? To think without do or to do without thinking?

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…”
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.
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.

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?

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, a 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 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.


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.

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

(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.

    (Social Partnership)
    Lobachevsky lane 8-a, 02090
    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.
    Ave Komarova, 7, m. Kyiv, 03165
    I visited them: they were friendly, got explained that they just provide help for homeless from Kiev, with documentation.
    0679117911 – Called: not speaking english.
    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
    (Центр обліку бездомних громадян)
    Lane hyperbolic 8a  404-08-99
    They just help to make documents.
    It’s not Hyperbolic, but Hyper Bureaucratic, not welcoming, just for locals, and you have even to pay.
    Ivana Mykytenka St, 7Б, Kyivs’ka oblast, 02000
    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.
    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.

AsoArtCa, Transforming Poverty into Music in Santo Domingo

AsoArtCa – “Asociación de Artistas en la Calle”

(Association Street Performers)


In Santo Domingo, while on my daily discovery-meditative walks, from the eastern side of the town, across the river to the other side of the city, after few hours of wandering I hear skilled street musicians, I take the chance to record and talk to them.

It’s Camilo Fulcar,  playing in the street promoting AsoArtCa = Association Artistas de Calle (Association for street Artists); an emerging,  yet really promising, association; teaching on the street to people of the street.

Their activities are focused to help individuals getting out of the street, rescuing them from poverty through learning and belonging to an artistic group. Learning is open to anyone, but the targeted students are especially indigents and ‘limpiabotas’ (shoeshiners), which are boys—often kids—cleaning shoes of whomever would give them some coins. Saddly enough, many people in Santo Domingo live in the street, or in caves without access to food, wc or shower.

Camillo is well known around here, he is a little more than a boy as age, same as many limpiabotas, despite that he has a strong charisma, huge teaching, social  and musical skills, and even bigger heart. His strident acute voice enters in your skin as poverty was in the skin of his students. You can understand all this just with a short stare at Camilo’s eyes while he is playing.



The smartest concept behind AsoArtCa is that it takes place in the street, for the ones of the street. This simple, open, and zero-bureaucraZy setting makes it easy for people to join, participate, learn and be a community; it also helps to have external people knowing about the activities of the Association, with possibility to ‘live’ contributing and monitor how the contributions influenced the learning having complete transparency.

This is the kind of education missing in the Dominican Republic, open places where to learn, for free, without requirements or registrations needed.



INDIFFERENCE – Convincing ourself that the problem is somewhere else

Many people love, support and appreciate the efforts of this association, still, there is not enough help to the most fragile groups in this area of the caribbean.
Alienation,  classism, colonialistic mindset and egoism are the ingredients of the disgusting cocktail that is still served in too many places.
While talking with a local, a wealthy girl working in a office in Santo Domingo, I pointed out the problem of poverty to her, she was arguing that the problem does not belong to ‘her’: “I work hard to make the money I make” this was the only sentence she could say about the issue. Even more sensitive people, individuals active in social, give reasoning blaming sometimes the poor himselfs: “they make too many kids, the should avoid that…”. Some also argue that it’s not just a local problem but a world problem: “Poverty is not just here, also in USA and Europe it happens, look at the situation with Greece for example…”  was said by local youngsters involved in social activities.
My opinion is that here the situation is critical, there is no well-working program for homeless or people in danger. There are people living in state of extreme poverty since they were born, giving them the lifelong title of “poor”, recognized by anyone else.
The programs to reduce poverty are slow to develop and don’t meet the needs of the weakest. Even disabled people may get no practical help at all. For sure no pension if you are without a leg or an arm. If you are lucky you get a (donated)old-wheelchair.

I decided to spend the few pesos I have only in local markets and for street sellers. We have to be aware that every time we buy something, we are deciding where to bring wealth. Having this awareness is even more important than political voting. More people should avoid to buy in big multinationals, and instead, give money to local sellers in the country, because they need it the most.



“There is not enough money”, this is one common answer to the question about helping the ones in need.

Governments have not enough money, banks neither, churches state that they are in deficit, rich people say they can’t afford to help.

Still, I see a lot of wasted resource and mega luxury around me in this ‘colonialistic’ city; an huge amount of money spent to:
– Army, military, police, guards.
– Illumination wasted: during daytime lights are on, in almost all Santo Domingo
– Political propaganda: installations, affiches, video, audio and internet party advertising
– Governmental and presidential security, luxurious expenses such as top suv-cars and huge fancy buildings for institution
– Ministry of culture  (& friends), really fancy, not necessary events and facilities that use huge resources under the name of culture.

Not to say that there are many extremely-rich not taxed enough, you can say it from the number of supercars you see going around in Santo Domingo. Almost as an irreverence towards the poor with no money to eat. I didn’t even see so many SUVs and luxurious cars in Europe.

AsoArtCa is working at the moment just with the work of volunteers and donations. They are doing the most needed tasks of the country and they don’t get a cent from the institutions. The biggest richness they have is the genuine will to help and the commitment.



After one week with just few hundred pesos (few euros), once those were finished, I challenge myself going to ask shops and restaurants for free food, any leftovers or stuff they don’t need

at bakeries, they said they didn’t have anything; a pizzeria’s waitress said they just give food for money; at two colmados (small food shop), they were looking at me with a mix of surprise and anger, shaking their heads to give me a negative answer; at a fancy restaurant, during closing time, a worker told me they had nothing left; I went to the back of an expensive supermarket and asked to a security agent if  I could dumpsters dive, he didn’t understand the expression but said no anyway; I went to two ice cream shops, one didn’t let me inside because they were closing, another gave me a small ice cream-spoon to try.

I went to more than six churches, asking if they have any food for poor people, or any knowledge of it, a priest told me: “we never thought about it, we are getting used to poverty” another told me that I have to go to the Archbishop near the Cathedral of Santo Domingo before afternoon. I went the luxury and huge Archbishopric palace, with large patios, many unused spaces, all freshly renovated: they are surprised to hear me talking about fighting poverty, I am told there is no help that they can give directly to the  poor, because ‘they don’t have enough resources’, they do organize donations of small amounts of food in the street weekly, but the clerical failed to tell me when and where; neither I have ever seen any of those.

While sitting on a bench, a small street kid, which was a beggar-shoeshiner until few months ago, now a street musician—thanks to AsoArtCa—offered me a slice of pizza, another of those AsoArtCa kids offered me a piece of bread.
That’s all I got for free.

It’s easy to say: “nobody starves of hunger” or “homeless are used to be like this”.
But, did you ever try to get something for free?
Did you ever try to sleep outside?
You can’t understand it until you don’t feel it on your own skin.



I am always surprised and worried about how much we romanticize many situations and environments that are not romantic, or even human, at all.
Why do we have to make them so appealing?

Let’s think about war, poverty, living in social isolation. There is an high glorification for warfare for example, many soldiers are seen as heroes worshiped as saviours—for sure in the USA—, but all what they do is getting a salary in order to kill other people.
The only reason I see, war movies are so often hitting the cinema, it’s because there is manipulation, political and economical power that pushes movie makers.

Many stories about poor, homeless, mafia and nomadic people are also highly romanticized, in this case the production’s aim could even positive, to sensibilize and let people know, but often there is an emphasis on the charm of a certain marginal lifestyle that does not match the reality. The most poor don’t decide to be poor, neither the homeless nor nomadic populations.
Before sailing on boats for long time, I was also victim of the ‘common thinking’ that made me picture boats as means of freedom, liberty and wildness. That’s why I spent long part of my life doing nautical studies and after working on boats.
I can say that life on big boats is not as you may imagine, if you like the sea and to travel, you don’t really get any those.
On large vessels, above the water of several hundred meters, you don’t smell the sea, you smell the pollution. Moreover, the ship is often taking navigation routes that are totally uninteresting for you and you may not even have time to go ashore.
Many Nautical environments (for sure in south Europe and Italy) are dominated by right wing people; to not say fascists.

I think that we should experience the world more and watch less TV, if we don’t put ourself in someone else’s shoes(shiners) we can’t really understand how the world goes.

One reason why I liked the famous book “Gomorra” is that that it was one of the few works showing the Mafia, and corruption, for what it is, without perfuming it: a cancer, disgusting, poisoning and destroying the society.
I don’t say people should go to war or on boats, I actually hope you would never do the first. But you could easily understand how a poor person lives. Try one day to go around without money, without a place to stay, after you can tell how charming it is.

Same goes for homelessness: I thought it was charming and wild, a rebellion to the system.
I am, and have been, kind of traveling-homeless, I spent months without a fix place and days sleeping in streets, train stations and parks. The feeling of having no place where to go–even just for one day–the uncomfort of not having water, a toilet and a shower, are so strong that you can’t understand if you never have experienced it yourself.

There is even a movement called “Comfort Zone Crusher”, which aim is to let us experience situation that we would not be into in daily life.



Worldwide, every 3.6 seconds someone dies of starvation, and it is often a child in his first years of life. One billion children are severely deprived of essential goods and services they require to survive while 62 world’s richest have the wealth of half globe population–while in the USA the main health problem is overweight–.
‘Reasoning’ that we “don’t have enough wealth” to help the poor is just absurd and false, discharging our responsibilities.
The world is going worse, more wealth is going in fewer hands.

We have to feel all accountable for it, if we are just wealthy enough to have food and necessary goods, we are in power to contrast this trend and improve the life of the poorer with our daily choices and lifestyle.


The one with a full belly does not believe in hunger.


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Families with young and sick child are house evicted, Santo Domingo


There is chronic problem of homelessness and poverty in Santo Domingo and all Dominican Republic. The Institutions, Governments and Churches don’t have any working plan or support for homelessness, neither for disabled people.
In this story that I have witnessed today, there are few families potentially becoming homeless.


Wednesday, 9 march 2016

SANTO DOMINGO — Several families in the street protesting because they were evicted out of home situated in Calle Isabel la catolica 112,  from the magnate owner, Jose Hernando, which owns also a luxury hotel,” Hodelpa Caribe Colonial”, downtown the capital of the Dominican Republic (‘Zona Clolonial’).

Families with children, even one baby, which is sick, as they say; were sittings at the side-entrance of the Hotel,
stating to have been ‘kicked out’  the day before in a brutal way, claiming that it was not ethical —there are pictures on the net from yesterday, showing all the furniture in the street, burned up—.

I went in the hotel asking to talk with the owner to ask more informations, but he was not there.
I have emailed the hotel waiting for an answer.

Here the video