MEDELLIN, Colombia: Stick your head in a sewer in the Colombian city of Medellin and you’ll find the cozy home of Miguel Restrepo and his wife, two happy underground squatters, and their dog Blackie. Their digs are too small to stand up in, and it measures just three by two meters (10 by 7 feet).
But somehow they have fitted it with a kitchen, a TV and a tile floor. It’s been home sweet home for 20 years. Restrepo, 62, says he would not give it up for anything because living above ground would mean paying for public services, taxes and other kinds of hassle. In his slice of middle earth, Restrepo says he lives “better than the president.” “I would not trade this for a house,” he told AFP.
Restrepo used to work as a scavenger gathering stuff to be recycled but dropped it because of lung trouble. Now he and his wife, Maria Garcia, live off the charity of neighbors. Now and then Restrepo gets odd jobs watching over people’s cars. “Some days we have more than enough food, and others we do not.
But you get used to it,” he said. Posh, or comfortable, it is not. But they have managed to seal themselves off from the rest of the sewer system by building cement walls.