Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING


 

LIVING                                                                            FEBRUARY 2016
  

WAITING FOR A BUS

 

I am fortunate because the general strike took a breather and for the first time in 4 days, the boats from Aegina sailed to the mainland; this meant that I could fly to the UK as planned and wouldn't have to seek the services of a taxi boat Despite being Sunday, there was a queue of people at the bus ticket office.

The triangle of grass behind the kiosk was peppered with packs of dogs and groups of dark skinned, unkempt people, their skin dirty, unwashed, their clothes cheap and gaudy. A community of gypsies or refugees, I was unsure of their origin and I immediately tightened the grip on my case and hand bag, stereotypical thieves, that was what I had branded them. They called across the road to a man,thin, very thin, dressed head to toe in brown. He expertly weaved his way through the cars and sat on the edge of the grass with his friends. Their home was a makeshift den, very similar to the ones my brother made when we were children, old doors positioned to make walls, a sheet served as a roof and plastic carrier bags containing their possessions.

Then I saw them, two children, one a boy aged about nine and the other a baby, possibly a sibling, a boy I assumed, judging by the clothes. The older child was dressed in black tracksuit bottoms and wore his black hoody pulled down over his forehead. He was thin, I could tell by the bones protruding in his face. His eyes though were wide smiley eyes, not big dewy ones commonly seen in gypsies. He was sat cross legged at the corner of the ticket kiosk and the baby sat in his legs. A chubby baby with fat, glistening cheeks, saliva coating a rash of tiny pin prick spots on his chin and cheeks.(teething, I registered) He wore bright red pyjamas and a pale green knitted jumper, nothing on his feet. The older child held a waxed cup in his hand and jingled it every time someone bought a ticket. Meanwhile,the baby was completely mesmerised by a box of matches he was clutching; the matches were white with pink tips and he took them out, one by one and would then twiddle them in his ears, sometimes two at a time. I wondered if he had itchy ears. Others he would keenly chew on and then throw them down beside him. I wanted to tell the older boy to take them away as I worried he might hurt himself but he was totally unfazed by the baby's behavior and was more intent on having coins thrown in his cup I bought my ticket and the cup was shaken. Parakalo kyria,  parakalo kyria. (Please madam, please madam) Den exo, I told him, well I had notes but not change. What I did have though were 6 packs of pistachio nuts, small ones, gifts intended for my family and colleagues. I foraged in my bag, took out a pack of nuts and went over to the boy. Theleis fistikia? I asked. “Ahh efxaristo para polli kyria” (ah,, thank you madam) he said as he grabbed them and immediately opened the packet. He was really hungry. “Proseheis me to moro omos”. I told him to be careful,with the baby and not give him any. “Exei dontia”. He has teeth, he told me. All very well but I wanted to ask him about allergy status and instruct him on the dangers of choking. After all, my children had attended a north London school where all nuts were FORBIDDEN and could mean DEATH!!!

 The X96 bus arrived and I got on, a dialogue droning in my head. Well, they are a great source of protein, I told myself. What good is protein to anaphylaxis? the other voice said.

And as the bus pulled away, I saw that the boy had stopped shaking his cup and was fully intent on deftly snapping off the shells. He eagerly popped the shelled nuts firstly into his mouth and then others into the baby's, the baby chewing and drooling, really enjoying the taste, matches forgotten, discarded on the path.

The community nearby, hopefully discreetly watching, I hoped that the mother would surely run over to rescue the child if there was a problem.


 

Alison Lorentzos                                                             copyright 2016

 

 

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