22/01/17

10 questions with: Alia Kahuda Myold (49), Frlan Kathuda Myold (47), sisters
From: Aleppo, Syria
At City Plaza since: Alia arrived in August 2016 and Frlan joined her in October

  1. What does City Plaza mean to you?

Frlan:
City Plaza is my second home. Here I feel like I’m not a refugee, I feel like I felt in my country before the war, safe.
City Plaza means safety. When I was in the camps I was very afraid. Some people beat me and kicked me (shows photos of her bruises and swollen legs on her phone). I felt very afraid and alone in the camps. Here we are safe.

Alia:
City Plaza is like home. We’re in the centre of Athens, surrounded by mountains, the sun, white buildings. It all looks like Aleppo looked 7 years ago, before the war.

  1. 3 words to describe the experience of living with 400 others at City Plaza:

Frlan:
Love, security, relaxed

Alia:
These 3 words are mine too.

  1. For you what is the main difference between the camps and City Plaza?

Alia:
People here treat us like humans, not just as refugees. We are shown a lot of respect here.

  1. How long was your journey from Aleppo to Athens?

Alia:
We spent about a year travelling here. We went from Syria, to Turkey, to the islands together. It was on one of the islands that we were separated because Frlan’s papers were stolen from our tent while we were sleeping.

Frlan:
When I was on my own in the camps I saw horrible, terrible things. I came from the war, I was fleeing violence and injustice but there were times that I wanted to go back. All we wanted was to find safety and peace but I didn’t see it in the camps. No respect, nobody helped me, no doctors. I was very afraid in this time (2 months after they were separated Frlan arrived in Athens and heard from a friend that her sister was living at City Plaza).

  1. What will you miss about City Plaza?

Alia:
I will miss Olga (member of the coordination team at City Plaza) most of all. She is like my daughter. She feels what we feel, she smiles with us, laughs with us, she’s sad when we’re sad.

Frlan:
Everyone. We are all together as one family here. So many sweet people.

  1. How do you participate in the self-organisation of City Plaza?

Frlan:
We work in the kitchen like everyone else. We work for 5 hours a week, preparing and serving food.

Alia:
We are always together.

  1. Where is your favourite place to be at City Plaza?

Alia:
The kitchen! I love the atmosphere, everyone working and cooking together.

Frlan:
My room. I feel so glad to be relaxed and safe in my own space after living in the camps. We have hot water, our own space to drink tea and talk. I love to be in our room.

  1. What is your best memory so far at City Plaza?

Alia:
The week of Christmas and New Year were the best times here. The parties and the food…

Frlan:
We all made cakes in the kitchen and went outside Plaza together and gave them to people on the streets.
On New Year’s Eve we were all on the balconies, almost 400 of us. We watched the fireworks in the sky, we clapped together. And most beautiful of all, people on the streets shouted ‘Happy New Year!’ to us, and we shouted back.

  1. What are your hopes for your future?

Frlan:
I want my country to be in peace. I want to be with my children again (Frlan’s daughter (22) and son (19) are living in Germany). I’d like to work again too, I worked as a dental assistant and nanny in Aleppo.

Alia:
I want to be with my husband and children (Alia’s 2 sons (21 and 22) are also living in Germany).

  1. City Plaza is not supported by NGOs and is supported entirely by donations from around the world . What does solidarity mean to you?  

Alia:
To me solidarity means togetherness, it means everyone supporting each other regardless of race or religion. We are all one. If I can say a message to anyone reading this from far away from City Plaza: this place is where solidarity really exists. We all live together and share together. As refugees, as humans. We have everything we need to be healthy and safe and live in dignity. I can’t imagine what it would mean if City Plaza had to close.

Detail of the day:

Frlan:
I woke up this morning and went straight down to breakfast. Then I went to my room and spoke with my son on the phone before my friends came to have coffee with us in our room.
To support City Plaza: www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen

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