the art of the story
the story of
Boguslawa Lucynda G.
At the age of 19, Boguslawa suffered one blow after another. First, her brother hangs himself. She still doesn’t know why. Three months later, her father dies of a heart attack. “Catastrophic. That was catastrophic,” says the 50-year-old, still visibly moved today, in broken German. Until then, she had lived carefree with her parents and two siblings on a farm near the town of Krosno in Poland’s Carpathian foothills. But then everything changed. Boguslawa’s sister got married and moved in with her husband. Her mother had been a housewife all her life and was already of retirement age. Getting by as a couple without her father’s income was tough. But at least, because they kept animals on their farm and were able to grow vegetables, they were able to make ends meet without much money.
Three years later, Boguslawa moved in with Arthur. She had met and fallen in love with him before and eventually married him. The two had three children, but Arthur quickly turned out to be an “asshole,” as Boguslawa says bluntly today. He drank a lot and beat his wife – but she put up with the marriage. For the sake of the children. In addition to raising them and keeping house, she cleaned in a hospital and helped out in the kitchen at wedding parties in the area. How did she put up with it all? “Had to,” she says pragmatically. When the children were old enough, however, she didn’t have to do anything. She filed for divorce and took off for Hamburg, where distant acquaintances promised her a place to sleep and a job. That was about ten years ago.
But working in a local takeaway, she only got a few 100 euros, even though she toiled all day. She could sleep at her acquaintances’, but on the floor. After a few months, she packed her things. Left to her own devices, she slept on the streets and got food from soup kitchens. “Hallelujah – the street was bad,” she says, grabbing her head with both hands. It got even worse when the temperatures dropped and winter set in. She spent the winter in the winter emergency program, which at the time was still housed in condemned high-rises on Spaldingstrasse. It was terrible. Crowded, cold, and noisy – there was no chance of rest.
But after a few months on the street and in the winter emergency program, her situation improved at least somewhat. She could stay with real friends. Not on the floor, but in a bed. She as also sells Hinz&Kunzt. It provides her with a small salary and contacts. Her customers are “super,” she says, grasping her heart with a grand gesture. They regularly bring her warm things for the cold winter months and ask how she is doing. Her greatest wish? Health. For herself, but above all for the children with whom she keeps in touch – they regularly write to each other and send photos back and forth. And if it could be anything else: a small dog.
More about Boguslawa:
Text: Lukas Gilbert
Foto: Mauricio Bustamante