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JOSE MARÍA

José María was born in Barcelona, the same city that saw him live on the street for five years. When he was 14 years old he began working as a welder. This job would eventually lead to permanent vision problems and prohibit him from continuing to work in that field. At 40 years old he had lost his job, gotten a divorce and experienced problems with other family members. This is when he began to live on the street. ‘’The hardest thing of all is the loneliness, I would distract myself by reading, doing crosswords and memorizing car registrations,’’ he said. He slept at the same bank and made money by collecting and selling scraps of metal. In 2007, a team of street volunteers at Arrels met José María and offered him help. First, they paid for him to stay at a hostel. Then, he moved to a shared flat and eventually to an individual flat where he has lived for two years. For him, the most valuable thing is ‘’to have peace and freedom to do what he wants’’. Now, he is part of the theatre group at Arrels and collaborates on different projects and activities at the organization.

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