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Only a few kilometres away from the historical centre of the capital city of Romania, you can come across an odd “circuit” of concrete. When looking from outside, the concrete block can look like an impenetrable military fortress. During communism lots of ambitious development plans for the country were made.

One of these provided for the construction of an artificial lake to be linked to the Dâmbovița river, with the purpose of creating a sort of small harbour in town.

After 1989, following the revolution and the fall of regime, the unfinished project was abandoned. Slowly, nature prevailed. Some subterranean springs, not planned by the architects, started to flow from the ground, taking with them some non-endemic fish species. The extended surface slowly changed into a damp area, an urban delta; migratory birds, also not present in the area, found shelter there and evidently brought seeds of different plants.

Inside the basin, also some homeless families found a shelter. Initially they built some shacks made of iron plate, which then were demolished by authorities, following the change of plans for the destination of the area, which should now become a protected natural reserve, thus depriving these families of their homes.

Currently half a dozen families live inside the area, trying to remain invisible, in order not to be thrown out. None of them has a stable job and they live from small jobs as construction workers or collecting metal scrap to re-sell them.

I would like to give a name and a face to some of these persons, who I got to know and opened up with me, telling me their stories: Gabriel and Magda with Furnică, Petrica, Marianna and Florin, Mariuta and Florin, with the hope they can regain their dignity.


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