Yesterday it was exactly one month since I arrived here in Washington DC. Time has passed quickly at the same time as a lot has happened. Well no surprise there. As I wrote earlier I have worked a lot these past weeks. But I have also gotten a bit organized in my new apartment, gotten to know new people, found a Romanian conversation group, and joined a small choir. I guess you can say that I have gotten my new life started. And yet I miss Moldova so much! I am sure it will get better with time, but right now it is almost painful.
DC is nice though. At least where my life takes place. During my way to the office in the morning, I walk through my very nice neighbourhood with Georgian houses and small streets lined with trees that are now shifting colours, and with small local stores and restaurants. Like a small town almost. But then as I pass Dupont circle, the city starts changing and as I walk, the buildings around me gets bigger and bigger. And when I reach the Word Bank and the IMF buildings close to the White House area, I am all of a sudden in the middle of a big American city where people in suits, with their brief case in one hand and their Starbucks coffee mug in the other, are rushing between the metro and their work while discussing politics with the person next to them. It is a lovely mix and it fits me perfectly.
At the same time, Washington is one of the most unequal cities in the US. There are homeless people everywhere and I find it difficult to see. Yesterday everyone at my job received an e-mail reminding us that Washington DC has the highest chid poverty rate in the U.S. and that less than half of all the 9th graders here will graduate high school. That there are 14,000 homeless men, women, and children in the area and that as many as 663,000 residents are at risk of experiencing hunger. And in DC, one in 20 people is HIV positive.
I don’t think I have to add anything – the numbers speak for themselves. It is just very difficult to comprehend why it has to be like this and how people can think that it is ok. To me, it is just completely unacceptable! And while I am determined to give DC a chance, I hope I will not get used to sight of the homeless, that there are kids who for whatever reason do not get a chance in life, and that so many people in one of the richest countries in the world are food insecure. That would be truly horrifying!