"Who am I to be horrified by poverty while I have no means to offer relief, no alternative to show these people?"
Picture a cave, complete with a vault and yellowed walls. Inside, a single room with a small table, a double bed and a bunk bed. And there, imagine three brothers living together.
"Excuse me," I said, "but where is the bathroom?"
"And the three of you live here?”
"Of course. This is our house. Mom and Dad raised six children here."
"But couldn't you rent a bigger and brighter house? It's humid here, it's bad for you!"
"Humid? No, no, the air is gray because of cigarette smoke. And during the day it's full of sunlight — in the summer it gets really hot!"
"You could put an air conditioner on, at least!"
"We did, but then it stopped working because of the smoke."
Home sweet home
At a certain point I looked at the three brothers’ faces. God knows what history of deprivation and suffering they carried with them. Their place was in a shocking state.
But for them it was home, and I could hints of mockery in their answers.
This place belonged to them, it was their world.
Who am I to be horrified by poverty while I have no means to offer relief, no alternative to show these people?
The state to the rescue
On my way back to the hospital, caught up in my own dilemmas, I noticed unusual movements from a number of law enforcement officials.
I asked what was going on, and was told that they were preparing for arrivals from Rome.
I then looked it up online and read something that calmed me down — an epiphany of sorts, an answer to my worries. "Tomorrow, Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese will be in Naples. It sends a strong message that the State is present."
Now that I know this, I can go home in peace ...
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