10 questions with: Qaiser Hussain Rizvi (30), Irfan Hussain Zaidi (31), cousins
From: Karachi, Pakistan
At City Plaza since: 04/16
- What does City Plaza mean to you?
Safety. In the camps I didn’t feel safe. Here there is security, there is always somebody doing the security shift here which means that they know exactly who is in the building. Here we can sleep, really sleep.
City Plaza is a home. I know everyone here now and we are one big family.
- 3 words to describe the experience of living with 400 others at City Plaza:
Children, friends, organisation
Goodness, children, support
- For you what is the main difference between the camps and City Plaza?
Being able to go out to see friends and family without curfews. I have the freedom to leave and come back to City Plaza whenever I want to, like anyone else living in their home in Athens. In the camps it was very strict, it felt like a prison.
- Where is your favourite place to be at City Plaza?
The kitchen. I do the lunch shift here and it’s my favourite time in the day. I worked in a restaurant in Karachi for 1 year and I love to prepare food. I’m most happy when I’m chopping cabbage, ginger, garlic… everything. I love to be in the kitchen!
The Bar. It’s where we all sit together and drink coffee, use the wifi. I like that everyone from different countries spends time together in the same space.
- What are your hopes for your future?
This is very difficult for me to answer. I don’t know what the future holds for us. I want to work again, maybe in a restaurant. I wish I was still in Karachi working.
I was happy in my country. All my family are there.
The Taliban killed my uncle, they attacked my cousin and now he is mentally ill. They know my face now and that’s why I had to leave. If I go back I will be killed.
I don’t know. I want to work again too. I still do work from my phone everyday for the Cardiac Emergency Center in Karachi. But I want to work more, I have experience as a plumber, welder and as an electrician.
- What will you miss about City Plaza?
I will miss my friends and the way things are organised here. I will miss everything.
- How do you participate in the self-organisation of City Plaza?
Irfan: We both work in the kitchen and help with the children’s activities. Sometimes we clean the building with everyone.
We spend all our time together, inside and outside of City Plaza.
- Have you learnt any words here in the languages of refugees from other countries?
In Arabic I can say hello/how are you?/I’m fine, and you?.
- What is your best memory so far at City Plaza?
Last night. We were all together celebrating a birthday. We were singing, all of us, my friends from Greece, from England, from Spain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria. We had such a good time. I will miss these times.
- City Plaza is not supported by NGOs and is supported entirely by donations from around the world . What does solidarity mean to you?
Solidarity means we can keep cooking at City Plaza!
Detail of the day:
This morning when I woke up we ate chocolate spread on bread in our room and drank tea together.
To support City Plaza: www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen