Report: The capital can be experienced from another perspective. According to their life story, the homeless people of Prague will take tourists through non-traditional corners of the metropolis.
Prague – “I would like to thank you for choosing Pragulic and me as a guide who will introduce you to homeless Prague,” Petr welcomed a group of high school students from Munich, Germany, who kept a timid distance. The initial mistrust subsided as she began to talk about her miserable journey through life.
Petr Bláha is one of the guides of the Pragulic project. He organizes non-traditional tours of the capital in the footsteps of the inhabitants who live Prague literally on their own. For non-traditional guides, this is a source of income and the possibility of a certain therapy. Our route was not attractive due to Prague locations, but rather due to the stories that were tied to individual places.
“It never occurred to me that I would be the one who needed help.”
“I was born into a normal family and by the age of sixteen, I had both parents. I learned, got married and later started high school, “Petr began his story in front of the Vltavská metro station, from where he took us up a staircase to an adjacent park with a view of his first homeless work in Prague.
It all started in Teplice, where he studied high school and served in the police for some time. Then he became addicted to vending machines, which she couldn’t. “It never occurred to me that one day I would be the person who needed help.” Mental problems and inability to enter the normal work process have resulted in the loss of jobs, housing and family.
“Fortunately, I was aware of how it was Prague it works. The next day I arrived in the city, I registered in New Space and Hope, where I got a dormitory so I wouldn’t have to sleep on the streets in the winter. ”Since then, he has spent more than five years standing in the subway making money selling magazines.
The road from the street is long, but Petr is already heading in the right direction
“It wasn’t easy at all to sell something. I found myself in a difficult situation in an instant and suddenly had to reach out to people on the street and offer them a magazine that everyone knew was sold by the homeless.” He got rid of the shyness only later thanks to the theater in which he is still involved today.
Initially, only four issues of the magazine were sold throughout the day, although the five subway lobbies often stood from its opening at five o’clock in the morning until midnight, when the last set was running. “You’ve really been standing there all this time, and how did you know what time it was?” asked one of the German students, who could not understand that even a homeless man could own a watch.
“They can’t understand it. They’re people who sleep in their young beds and can’t imagine it,” she apologized to some of the translator’s questions. Guide Petr is no longer homeless, although it is possible to see him from time to time standing in the same place with Nový Prostor, and with his nature as a theater actor, he is already able to publish up to 160 copies of the magazine in two days.
“I still sell, but I go to work, I work as a security guard. I also have a family and I have a normal lease, so my situation has improved significantly,” Petr said of his wife, who was a Prague squatter since she was an adult, and her four-year-old daughter. shows near the subway a place with a fountain, where he went to swim in difficult times.
The theater saved his life
“I knew I didn’t want to be on the street, and I said for a long time that I wasn’t homeless. I rather said that I was an adventurer who ended badly, but I have the strength to get out of it,” says Petr at our next stop, the Prague homeless colony under the Hlávka bridge.
“This place has been a closed group since 1989, where some of the homeless have lived for more than fifteen years. According to the latest census, there are about three and a half thousand homeless people in the whole of Prague, but it is said that it can be up to six thousand. ” “It’s getting dark and we’re peeking under Hlávek Bridge, where about fifteen people live on the waterfront, for whom, according to Petr, the road from the street is already closed.
Our guide to his new life himself needed the trust and great help of his loved ones and completely strangers. As he says, one cannot handle it alone. Peter had the support of his brother and the Lutheran Church, which he began to attend and where he was baptized.
“You, who have a home, say hello there,” Petr says goodbye to us in the words of his colleague from the theater and shakes hands with all participants in today’s tours. Group photo for goodbye and up for the premiere to the theater and for the family.