Xpat Opinion: “Whoever Says That There Is No Poverty In Hungary Is Lying”

  • 5 Jan 2016 8:00 AM
Xpat Opinion: “Whoever Says That There Is No Poverty In Hungary Is Lying”
Can I state my opinion? Will you write it down? Really? Then write this down: Who says that there is no poverty in Hungary is lying.”<br>Translation of “She survived cancer three times but Hungary has sentenced her to slowly starve” (“Háromszor legyőzte a rákot, de Magyarország lassú éhhalálra ítéli”) appearing in online daily nepszabadsag.hu on January 1st.

START Nonprofit Kft. distributed ten thousand cooked meals in under ten days to people living in poverty in its Nyíregyház soup kitchen. Even though every day many stand in line for food, not a single politician mingles with the poor. This is how they deny to us that hunger exists and what they go through.

1. “My name is János Kovács. I’m 50 years old. I’ve been working for START for five years as a material handler. I make HUF 58,000 (USD 203.5) a month net (of payroll taxes). From this I support myself. Unfortunately, my family fell apart. I divorced, and I have a sick child with Down’s Syndrome, but I am not ashamed. I am presently living in a camper van I bought for HUF 100,000 (USD 350) but I have to pay the owner HUF 5,000 (USD 17.5) a month to be able to keep it in his fenced off yard.

“I park my camper van in the yard of the house my older sister and her children sublet. In this way we can go there to shower. By the time I pay the owner the rent for the yard, buy the monthly (public transportation) pass, pay the electric and water bills, and put aside money for food, I am left with at most HUF 8,000 (USD 28) for the month. That is how much I can spend. Although for HUF 260 (USD 0.91) a day I receive lunch on the basis of social need”.

“God bless the elder Balogh and his son, too, that I can work for them. They are very good people and have extended my contract yet again. (He is talking about START CEO Zoltán Balogh and his son – Zs. K.) (and not about Minister for Human Resources Zoltán Balog who told daily origo.hu the government had put an end to child hunger shortly before the government reallocated USD 12.6 million from municipal child feeding programs to the construction of soccer stadiums and other sports facilities in December-ed.).

I like working here, even though I have to pack up boxes weighing ten or twenty kilograms. But I’m alright. And I had a very nice Christmas because I was with my older sister’s family. In the house.

2. “I am a helper at Caritas. This is how I know that they are distributing food. I first came on December 22nd when there was bean soup, but since them I haven’t had time. Either my wife or our two children come for lunch. The one child is 15 years old, the other is 12. We took home boiled potatoes with paprika and stuffed cabbage. On the 25th and 26th there were cold food packages, I recall meatballs and baked chicken leg. The reason I wasn’t available was because I was working. I am a cleaner here in Nyíregyháza and receive HUF 80,000 (USD 280) a month”.

“My wife takes care of my mother-in-law, and for this reason receives social money for three hours a day, but that is not much. Almost nothing is left over by the time we pay every bill. I’m coming tomorrow as well, because it is a great relief that for days we needn’t spend money on lunch. I am taking four servings home, two for us and two for the two children. Can I state my opinion? Will you write it down? Really? Then write this down: Who says that there is no poverty in Hungary is lying.”

3. “I am 49 years old. Previously I worked as a tradesman in a carpenter’s workshop, but for four years I haven’t had any work. Not since 2011. I don’t receive any unemployment assistance because I am no longer entitled to it. Fortunately, my wife still has a job. How much money do we live on each month? Well, that varies. My wife earns HUF 70,000 (HUF 245) a month. We have to share this. It is difficult but we manage to live on that, even though I no longer receive any social assistance. How is that? It seems I’m not entitled to it”.

“Since they’ve been distributing food here, we’ve been taking it home every day. Either I came or my wife. Anyway, we’re in the habit of cooking at home. Of course, not every day, because it is not always necessary to cook.”

4. “My name is Margó Imre. I survived three bouts with cancer. I was in two bus accidents. I broke a vertebrae in my neck and two ribs, but thanks to God’s mercy I am still alive. I a believer, reformed. I believe in God, because he always helps. I live alone in (Budapest’s 8th district), because I divorced my husband. He cheated on me!

He was a musician, and I learned from him over the course of my life that you musn’t get involved with a musician because women are drawn to it.”

Now I am 62 years old. This year for the first time in 20 years I was out of circulation due to sickness and accidents. I became a disabled pensioner, but at least I was able to learn to walk again, thank God! I lay on the operating table enough to last a lifetime.

You see, my leg is swollen, I have to wrap it in gauze. But I can still get around and collect cans. I collect aluminium cans, whether they are beer or soda cans. But I don’t dig through garbage cans. Don’t think that I dig through garbage cans. I only take out the cans that are in the top. How much do I make from this? If I can collect 50 cans a day, then I can make HUF 500 (USD 1.75) in under five days.”

Source: The Budapest Beacon

The Budapest Beacon is a media partner of XpatLoop.com

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