Sunday, 15 March 2015
Gone but not forgotten....
I never spoke to Dumitru, but I saw him around often. He was one of the great characters that Brussels throws up so often. For at least the last 6 or 7 years he lived in what was once a tent, close to St Katherine, in the city centre.
He could often be seen feeding the pigeons with copious amounts of bread - in Brussels it is absolutely normal for shopkeepers to give unsold food to homeless people at the end of the day.
Now he is gone, and on the spot where he lived something of a shrine has appeared.
Yesterday I passed by and I noticed how this was attracting the attention of a number of people who walked over to take a look. I wonder if any of them would have even acknowledged him when he was alive.
It is very touching to see how the community he belonged to has built this little memorial, with flowers and other small tokens. There are a lot of sea shells there - I do not know if this is a reference to his earlier life, or if it has some cultural significance - I believe he was one of the many Roma who live in that district.
There are some fascinating characters around us, it is a shame that so often they are not even spared a glance.