A giant Soviet monument towers before me in the heart of the city of Mykolayiv in southern Ukraine. With every step I take, confusion grows. Misha, a young homeless man, is going to show me where he and other street children sleep at night. He walks towards the statue. There are shops, cafés and fast food restaurants around us. People are walking and shopping, laughing and smiling.
No one notices us as we hurry past. I don’t know what to look for. Street children and their lives sometimes seem like a ghost world which I cannot really see.
And then there we are, in the shadow of the monument. The statues rest on a big metal ring. On the inside of the ring there are two openings, like small windows. Through the small windows children climb inside to sleep in the cold, narrow cavities.
The staff from New Century, an organization that Childhood supports since 2011, stay to talk to the children. I move away. Breathing in. Breathing out. Around me there are people. Walking and shopping. Laughing and smiling. And it feels as if I am stuck in a ghost world.
Photo: Susanne Drakborg