Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A matter of trust

Before coming here I had a picture of Ukraine as being sort of a wild west country with a lot of criminals and bad people. This was even strengthened when I came here. Numerous times local people have warned me about going some places and trusting some people. They told me it was dangerous to go to some markets or suburbs, that I could be robbed or beaten up. They told me that I should not trust any business people to be honest and that a contract here is 'only a piece of paper'. And they told me to expect the police ask for bribes and that I should never bring any strangers to my apartment. Because, as they say, 'this is not Denmark'.

The feeling of being surrounded by criminals was strengthened even more by the security systems and security people which are here everywhere present. If you go to any kind of market or half public area there are people in uniforms who will deny you to do a lot of things. Even by the entrance to my apartment there are people keeping an eye on people going in and out, and to get into the apartment I have to go through 3 locked doors.

In the beginning I was affected by all that, everywhere I saw people trying to cheat me. But I think it may mostly have been something I imagined. I am starting to wonder if there is really a reason to be so mistrusting because all of the people I have met so far have been very kind and good people. And I wonder if the reason for all the security staff is not just that they want to keep some people employed. Maybe Ukrainians are generally just very mistrusting of each other. And maybe they think Denmark has a lot less crime, but I think not. I have to check some statistics.

Ususally an old lady is sitting here, keeping an eye on people coming in and out of the building of my apartment. They look quite bored and the expression on their faces would be perfect for poker (but it doesn't really make you feel welcomed).

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