10 questions with: Mohammed Hossin (18)
From: Aleppo, Syria (Kurdish Syrian)
At City Plaza since: 18/08/16
- What does City Plaza mean to you?
Family. I felt very alone after I left my family in Aleppo. When I came to City Plaza it was the first time I felt love from many people around me. I have found my second family here.
- 3 words to describe the experience of living with 400 others at City Plaza:
Friends, democracy, equality
- For you what is the main difference between the camps and City Plaza?
There are a lot of differences. For 6 months I washed in cold water, I ate very basic food (over 6 months Mohammed lived in 7 different camps and 1 squat before coming to City Plaza). Spaghetti and rice, spaghetti and rice, spaghetti and rice! People get sick a lot in the camps, with all the mosquitos, rubbish, cold water, poor diet, no doctor.
The main difference for me is that there is hope at City Plaza. At the camps everyday I thought to myself ‘today or tomorrow things will get worse, I’m sure’. Here I feel hope for my future.
- Where is your favourite place to be at City Plaza?
In the bar. It’s where everyone spends time together as a real community. We talk about everything, drink coffee, play chess. You can always find me in the bar.
- What are your hopes for your future?
I want to go to Germany. I want to travel one day too. I love the Shakespeare play A Merchant of Venice, I’d love to go to Venice.
When I’m in Germany I want to study Chemistry and work part-time as a translator. I really don’t want to work in a factory again. Before I came to Greece I lived in Istanbul for 5 months. I worked on the factory line making clothes. I had no money in this time so I couldn’t eat. We were only given coffee, just to keep us awake. I worked 32 hour days. I don’t want to work somewhere like that again.
- What will you miss about City Plaza?
Everything. I don’t want to leave. I can’t find the words to explain why I will miss City Plaza so much…
I’ll miss waking up in the morning and saying hello to everyone. I’ll miss translating. I’ll miss playing football, my friends, playing chess, everything.
- How do you participate in the self-organisation of City Plaza?
Translating. (Mohammed speaks Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish and English. He learnt Turkish in 5 months in Istanbul and English in 6 months in Greece). I spend a lot of my day translating, at the hospital, with the doctor, for lots of things at City Plaza.
- How often do you speak with your family?
Every week on Whatsapp/Messenger. It’s been 2 years since I had to leave my family. The police tried to make me fight because I was 16. I didn’t want to fight, so I had to leave. It was a very bad moment when I had to say goodbye to my family (Mohammed’s parents, 2 of his brothers and his sister are still living in Aleppo and his other brother now lives in Germany).
- What is your best memory so far at City Plaza?
My birthday. It was a very nice day. More than 40 of us spent the evening together, all my friends wrote birthday messages in notebook for me. I will never forget this day.
- City Plaza is not supported by NGOs and is supported entirely by donations from around the world . What does solidarity mean to you?
When you have solidarity, you have strength. When solidarity exists, we are winning.
You can’t clap with only one hand, everyone has to support each other in these times.
Detail of the day:
Today I had a shift in the bar making coffees. Now I’m drinking tea in the bar answering these questions and later, I’m sure I will be translating!
City Plaza relies entirely on solidarity and donations from around the world. To keep this project going City Plaza needs your support: www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen