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Why do some people live outside?

 Strassenkreuzer (Germany) 27 May 2019

(Originally published: 11/2009) Otmar is 34 years old. In former times he had an apartment but for some years now, he has been out on the streets with his backpack. The backpack contains everything he needs, even his “bed” and of course his toothbrush. Ilse Weiß brings you Otmar’s story. (475 words) - By Ilse Weiß

Strassenkreuzer

Courtesy of Strassenkreuzer

Strassenkreuzer (Germany) - Otmar is 34 years old. In former times he had an apartment but for some years now, he has been out on the streets with his backpack. The backpack contains everything he needs, even his "bed" and his toothbrush of course, but let's leave it to Otmar to tell his story.

"It all started in May 1999. Back then I had to give up my apartment because I did not a have job and no money either. It came about like this; I did vocational training to become an electrician but that made me unhappy. I had always wanted to study theology, but I did not pass the high school exams that allow you to go to university. The employment centre wanted me to work as an electrician but I did not want that, it made me sick. That's why I did without the money from the employment centre. Then I packed my backpack and got started.

"I spent the first night in the municipal park. The stars were shining and I knew that life would go on somehow. By now, my sleeping place was on the edge of a forest. I was never frightened when I was there - even though it was pretty gloomy. The most important thing is a good sleeping bag because it can get really cold during winter. I have to be really quick getting dressed in the mornings, otherwise I would be freezing.

"I don't miss anything, no TV, no couch, no refrigerator and no oven. I always have the bible with me which I enjoy reading. My favourite psalm starts like this, "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

"I have everything I need in my backpack. I carry a bottle of water around with me, which I refill regularly for brushing my teeth. When I want to take a shower, I go to the street ambulance in Nuremberg. There are doctors and nurses to help you if you get ill. When I am in Nuremberg, I sell "Straßenkreuzer" because I do need some money. I buy vegetarian food and clothes with my income. I go to internet cafés to check my emails and I wash my clothes at a coin-operated laundrette. So, everything works, but people who have lived on the streets for a long time and are on their own very often, tend to become a bit strange. There is always the danger of isolating yourself. I have never said that I feel at home on the streets. Now, after all these years, I am trying to get away from the streets again. I am going to another city and I want to work, maybe offer my services as a craftsman."

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