INSP Advent Calendar: day 13

Count down to Christmas with #INSPadvent! Each day in December, we have messages from different street paper vendors. Come back each day to open a window in our celebratory advent calendar.

Donate to back INSP’s work supporting street papers and their vendors here.

Strassenfeger vendor Tino

Tino Schneider, 25, Berlin, strassenfeger vendor

When my parents died, I couldn’t handle living in Eisenhüttenstadt [Brandenburg, Germany, on the border with Poland] on my own and I started to experience psychological problems. Then I travelled to Berlin. At the moment I am homeless, but in a few days I will join an assisted living project.

What is the nicest Christmas present you have ever received and why?

That was last year. Someone had handed in a bag to Kaffee Bankrott [Coffee Bankruptcy] the cafe and social meeting place run by strassenfeger for their sellers and anyone else who wants to drop by. The bag contained gloves, razors for shaving, sweets and a Christmas card. It was a customer of mine, who knew me from selling strassenfeger. I was so surprised and so happy, because it’s not normally like that – nobody takes notice of you, you are called names and insulted, you are treated like a piece of dirt.

How will you celebrate Christmas this year?

I really don’t know yet.

Do you have something special you would like to say to your strassenfeger customers for Christmas?

Stay healthy. And please stay loyal to me as your strassenfeger seller!

What is a traditional Christmas greeting in Germany?

Frohes Fest!