Wednesday, October 12, 2011
WHAT BECOMES OF THE VULNERABLE?
Allow me to introduce Rosemary and Audrey, two women I met at the Citihostel in Dublin. Audrey is Irish born, but lived in Canada long enough to develop an accent. She told me her daughter is studying for a masters degree in music performance at Trinity College and Audrey is concerned, to the point of obsession, because her daughter is diabetic, needs special diet, and Audrey feels she is not getting the guidance with her studies she should be. Her field is the concertino, a lively little folk instrument which I remember from childhood. No matter what topic began a conversation Audrey would always work it around until we reached her daughter's problems. She has a kind heart though, After I left Citihostel, following the episode of horizontal P.E. mentioned in an earlier blog, Audrey trekked across Dublin to bring me a book she had found in a charity shop, written by an English woman who had cycled from England to India in the 1960's. It made fascinating reading.
Rosemary was approaching forty and had recently split up from a relationship. She had no job and was hoping to train as a volunteer in a charity shop. Evidently this is the first step in Ireland for getting back into work.The first time I met her she was mid epileptic seizure in the hostel kitchen. She later told me that as a child she had been given the wrong medication and it had left her epileptic and without short term memory. She was a pleasant girl until she found hair in the bathroom basin. That was her fixation. The hair was not always there but if she thought there was that would set off a tirade.
But what concerned Audrey and me was seeing her each evening scanning the pages of the newspaper and ringing 'businessmen' who promised to find work for her. And almost every week end she would iron her blouses and set off to meet a 'business man.'
Here was a forty year old woman with the naivete of a fourteen year old.
Talking about it to friends in Liverpool later I was told that people like Rosemary were often dumped in hostels by welfare agencies because there was nowhere else for them to go. Sad, isn't it?