It’s Kiev. The tunnels under the main crossings, and the subway passages, are stuffed with peasants and babushkas trying to sell their measly produce to a crowd of hurried and indifferent passers-by who scarcely take any notice of them or of their exposed goods: the meager and disparate output from their gardens or kitchens, a few potatoes, a handful of parsley, a bag of kasha seeds, a dozen greasy homemade muffins, collecting the toxins from ten thousand breaths and the dust from ten thousand shoes.
I find sad and moving the steadfast, long-suffering life of these captives in the modern urban catacomb who wait during the long hours of their lightless days–hardly sheltered in the noxious galleries, perchance barely warmed by the tepid draught ascending from the subway tunnels–for the hazard to bring them some housewife who, while remembering that she needs some carrots, half dozen egss or one litre of compote, will notice their merchandise and buy some. But most of the times these serfs of poverty will have to collect their paltry stuff, almost untouched, and take it back to their far-off homes for trying again next day–the spinachs more withered, the cucombers more wrinkled and dried up…
A touching display of edurance and forbearance.