THE LINES FOR BREAD HIDE IN RAHOVA

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. The bread comes by the van early in the morning, before the break of dawn. Some of the pensioners wake up early to get a good place in line. By the time they get the bread, the old men gather around the boxes for a chat.

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. Those who get the free bread are not well-off people. Many of the women are either widows or sick. The pensioners have to first pay a somewhat symbolical contribution to the organization`s funds in order to get on the list.

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. The bread that is given away here is made at one of the bakeries in Bucharest. It`s not basically for free, because it`s paid out of the pensioners contributions.

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. Among the bread boxes one can see the Red Cross sign, an organization the old men often expect aid from.

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. The old men guard their coupons like their most precious belongings. Ion Repezis (86) think that, sometimes, people that gather here is “pervert” when it comes to the little pieces of paper. Some don`t care others got here earlier. This is not understandable since they cannot take more than others because only two are given away per person so everybody can get a loaf. It all comes down to respect, but here we act like cattle.

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. Pensioners wait in a civilized manner for Paul Ispas to give them the bread. It`s a game of patience.

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. The dark doesn`t bother the pensioners standing in line for bread. In winter it`s the hardest, says Elena Balan (67), whose late husband was a policeman during the communist regime.

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. Paul Ispas has been giving away bread at the Omenia since 2003. He has noticed something over these seven years: people come to the house more and more poorly dressed. Worse dressed and more wretched. I pitty them! Now, if I look better, I can see their numbers is down because some of them have died in the meantime, says Ispas.

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. We give away 250 breads a day, 750 a week. On Thursdays and Fridays we also give away free bread at our branches, in the countryside, to the people with a pension lower than 600 RON (about 150 Euros). This is an idea which goes

Hundreds of pensioners crowd three days a week, as early as 4 am, to get free bread from the Pensioners Omenia Mutual Help House in the Rahova district, Bucharest, reminiscence of the communist-era endless queues. Here, every week, a strange type of party also occurs. Beyond the sad looks, those several hundreds pensioners that stand in line crack a joke and chat. Paul Ispas is very well organized when it comes to volunteering for Omenia. For seven years, three times a week, he has diligently prepared the coupons for the pensioners that wait for him.