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Aug 13, 2007

Milena Naydenova "this is my street"

For Milena, leaving her street

Milena Naydenova, Sofia, Bulgaria

A Street Others Are Afraid of,

Posted by maria dimitrova

I live in Patriarch Evtimiy Boulevard, but if I have to talk about my street, I’ll choose Pirotska Street, formerly Zhdanov Street. I’ll choose it not so much because of the National Centre for Addictions where I go daily or the Green Café where I spend most of my time. I call Pirotska my street because it’s where most of my friends are. Most of the time they hang around in the stretch between Opulchenska Street and Odrin Street.

I’ve heard the so-called normal people warn their friends and relatives that this is a dangerous part of town, especially at night. It’s a strange feeling when I hear this. What other people consider a dangerous place is the only place where I feel safe and accepted; I am myself, without a sense of guilt or separation from society.

What more can I tell you about my part of my street? The buildings I usually notice are the St. Nikola Church, the National Centre for Addictions and the Green Café. But there are also the former Jewish school, with a pair of policemen always patrolling the area in front, and numerous smaller and bigger shops. Every now and then there is a luxurious empty space with a for-rent sign on the window. There are also dilapidated buildings whose owners can’t agree on their property rights for years and which my friends have turned into places for drug-injection. The backyards are used by the homeless even when the temperatures are below zero…

I know and love every square metre of this street and it’s sad that other people think of it as dangerous. It is not. Perhaps if, before rejecting us, others try to understand us first, they will be able to see it through my eyes.

To see Milena's picture's click here


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