A former business journalist leaves her comfortable life in Estonia and moves to Buenos Aires to work in a poor area of the city. The author relates how she fought cockroaches at a day care center and then ended up becoming the boss of international volunteers. How she met whales and penguins. How she couldn’t bring herself to interview cartoneros – people who make their living by going through others’ rubbish. How the relationships played out in a shared flat called “Fight Club”. But what surprised her the most when she returned to Estonia some 14 months later?
As we reach the park, Chanchal is shocked. “God, are you sure that’s the place?” she cries out from the backseat. Miguel has just announced that this is where the park begins. “I was told that during daytime families come here for picnics.”
“That’s right. But at eight o’clock sharp the families take their children and go home, and nine on the spot the transvestites come to work,” Miguel affirms. “They’re very punctual. This schedule has been in effect for years already. In the daytime, of course, the park is full of used condoms.”
“Federico doesn’t live at my place anymore,” Ricardo tells me quietly one day, when we pull away from the general conversation among the volunteers. “Don’t tell this to the other volunteers, but I had to change all the locks at home.”
Federico, the adult son of our center’s housekeeper, had just recently moved out of the Hidden City. He was supposed to stay at Ricardo’s flat until things cooled down in the ghetto, where it got a little too hot – in the long run, getting involved with drug dealers isn’t necessarily the best of ideas, especially when you start owing them money.
- ISBN 9789985984895