July 22, 2024


Built General Tough

in the working-class Clos Toreau district, residents fear a new explosion of inequalities

A year ago at Clos Toreau during the first confinement, solidarity was organized in a few days. Distribution of baskets of fresh vegetables, books, manufacture of masks.

Around Anne Gruand, who has lived there for 40 years, a pretty group of citizens had put all their time and all their heart, to help the most fragile and isolated people. Some did the shopping for the elders, others printed the certificates in several languages, so that everyone could find their way around. At the time at the foot of the towers, as everywhere, we said to ourselves that it was the case, of a few weeks. A few months at most …

A year later, covid 19 is still circulating and growing stronger. Until then more spared than others, the Nantes metropolis is now in the red. The population, it adapts as best it can, is depressed. After a year of deprivation, it’s hard to see the light. Thinning is announced in mid-May with the return of fine weather. The galloping figures show for the moment quite the opposite.

During his speech, this Wednesday, March 31, Emmanuel Macron left three days to the French “to go green”. Those who can and have the means will take refuge in their second homes, by the sea, or in the countryside.

But for the others ? Those who live in the neighborhoods, several in apartments without terrace or balcony. These will not afford the luxury “to get some fresh air”, as suggested by the Head of State. Worse, they could well be, once again, the forgotten ones of the crisis.

Banners in support of those on the front line bloomed in the windows of the neighborhood, during the spring 2020 containment

Banners in support of those on the front line bloomed in the windows of the neighborhood, during the spring 2020 containment

© DR Anne Gruand

After-school reception director since October 2020, Anne Gruand is a little less present on the ground in her district in the south of Nantes. It does not forget, however, the difficulties that lie ahead for its inhabitants who for many months, have never finally put their heads above water.

We are given the table. I finished the first confinement on my knees with all the inequalities that jumped in our mouths, and there I take them violently right away!

Anne Gruand, resident of Clos Toreau

“I still have the trauma from last year. People won’t hold on. It’s going to be a lot harder to stay at home. I don’t even know if there will be activities for the children in the neighborhood during this. the holidays, or if they will have to stay locked between four walls “, Anne Gruand fears.

“I would have preferred a hard confinement”

A year later, Valérie Feger remembers. “I’m fine, but I’m morally tired like everyone else. It’s hard over time, we can’t see the end of it. There with this reconfinement, it’s like going back in time.”

Valérie is a self-entrepreneur, a personal service provider. “For me it doesn’t change anything, I will continue to work. For my activity, no stoppage, no compensation. I have no choice, I must continue to work, otherwise there is no nothing that fits. “

However, she will not have to tackle lessons or homework. Her children are grown up. “I just moved my eldest who is taking off. The youngest is looking for an apprenticeship:” he saturates for a little while. He has the impression of treading water. Whatever he undertakes, it does not lead to anything “, she laments.

“We are suffocating!”

When she heard Emmanuel Macron authorize travel, especially for those who can flee their apartments, yes Valérie said to herself that there were double standards. And that people like her were totally left out. But she tempers. “I don’t spit on people who have money. If they have it, it’s because they worked for, but now I envy them for sure.”

When I see the Parisians who are leaving Paris, I say to myself yes and no. Yes because they have small apartments. But not because there is a lot of contagion. Result, it will contaminate all the others. It will develop the variants.

Valerie Feger

“People who have only one housing, working-class neighborhood or not, well we remain on the floor with such announcements. Anyway, I would have preferred outright confinement for two or three weeks, than we take the opportunity to vaccinate as much as possible during this time. And vaccinate by family, by tribe, to be sure that the circle is protected “, concludes Valérie.

Between neighbors we do not necessarily talk about it. Everyone is fed up with it. I see it with my clients. Everyone at their own level with their own issues, we’ve been carrying this like a burden for months. We are fed up, we are suffocating!

Valérie Feger, resident of Clos Toreau

“It’s anguish, in fact we don’t know”

Like everyone or almost everyone, Emeline Diarra awaited the presidential address. “It’s back from school to home. I will have to adapt my professional activity. This is what I found the hardest a year ago.”

“Of course we don’t have an exterior, we live in a building, but the most complicated thing is to combine time with the children and time for our work, continues Emeline, it involves big organizational changes. And then you have to reset things with grandpas and grandmas when possible. we are lucky to have them nearby. It will allow us to breathe. “

Emeline is a facilitator in an association which accompanies families going on vacation. And with the modification of the announced school calendar, it is one more headache to manage.

“We are addressing people who never or rarely go on vacation. For financial or other reasons. Because we don’t have a car, because we are a single mom, because we need ‘a helping hand to start a project. Here we were right in the middle of it and it will require a hell of a lot of adaptability “. Especially since Emeline will telecommute to avoid interactions. “With the language barrier, doing interviews over the phone is complicated.”

I will also have to remake a schoolteacher. But hey over a short time we say to ourselves that it can do it, it’s fine. After that, we started like this last year. At the beginning it should not be long. It’s anxiety, in fact we don’t know. If my 9 year old son goes back to school in three weeks it will be a lesser evil.

Emeline Diarra, resident of Clos Toreau

“A big weariness”

“People are fed up, there is a big weariness. There this morning I was on duty in the compost, it was not the joy. People say to themselves this weekend, we go out, we take advantage of it again. also feels a relaxation. People are much less in the drastic respect of the barrier gestures of the first confinement “, says Emeline.

What will happen tomorrow? She doesn’t know. “We are still allowed to walk, we are no longer limited to an hour. I do not realize what that will change. But we feel a big drop in morale. People would like to resume a normal life. after a moment.”

My main worry is to tell myself: is this going to be enough? Aren’t we going to leave for another month afterwards. In any case, we do not control anything. We feel totally helpless.

Emeline Diarra, resident of Clos Toreau

“We are far from having all the ins and outs of everything we went through. It’s tiring in fact to make so much effort while others are piling up by the river. But at the same time. that can be understood, frankly the period is very complex “, continues Emeline, “The first confinement had really allowed the creation of links and a very strong mobilization in the neighborhood. The second, much less because the children were going to school. and I for example I worked full time at home. I don’t know. not how it will be tomorrow. If the solidarity will be the same “.

During the first confinement, residents called on a local producer to distribute baskets of vegetables at the foot of buildings,

During the first confinement, residents called on a local producer to distribute baskets of vegetables at the foot of buildings,

© DR Anne Gruand

“It’s a bit borderline, a bit easy, a bit big”

In Emeline’s voice, you can still hear all this energy but at the end of the day, we guess, there is a sudden urge to give up. “I can understand that some go to confine themselves with parents or grandparents. After for second homes, it’s like for childminders who initially could not have continued to work at home. But who today can afford a home worker? ”

These authorizations issued to those who have the most resources are a little limited, a little easy, a little big. And then it blazes everywhere and we let people go. It’s totally inconsistent with the idea of ​​re-containment and medically irresponsible.

Emeline Diarra

Faced with an economic and social crisis that sets in over time, the city of Nantes has decided “to help weakened households more”. It has relaunched the rent payment aid scheme for 2021. Aid for the payment of energy bills (electricity, water, gas) is also offered to families in fuel poverty.

A welcome boost, but which will not be enough to reassure residents who feel increasingly invisible over the announcements and decisions.