10 questions with: This woman has asked to remain nameless for her safety.
From: Damascus, Syria (Palestinian Syrian)
At City Plaza since: 11/16
- What does City Plaza mean to you?
A safe place to live. I was living on the streets before. Here I have my own room, privacy and safety. Here I am safe.
- 3 words to describe the experience of living with 400 others at City Plaza:
Family, security, respect
- For you what is the main difference between the camps and City Plaza?
In the camps there is so much fighting and violence. I had many things stolen from my tent while I was sleeping. The main difference though has to be the freedom here. At City Plaza we can do basic day to day things when we want. We can wash when we want, sleep when we want, express ourselves without being shouted at. I never had the freedom to make choices of how I wanted to spend my day in the camps, everything is controlled like a prison there.
- Where is your favourite place to be at City Plaza?
On the balcony of my room. I like to watch the people on the streets. I like to watch children play, people walking to work, speaking to friends on the phone. I think to myself, ‘I want to be like them’. The balcony is the place where I watch the world go by and imagine myself having my own home, having a job, having a normal life.
- What are your hopes for your future?
Peace and love to be found for everyone here and everywhere.
Sometimes I feel that all the refugees here in Greece are slowly dying. It’s such a long process, waiting to find out if and when we can leave this country. I have days when I think to myself ‘at least in Syria when you die, you die quickly’.
But then there are days of hope for my future. I want to finish my studies (she started a nursing course in Damascus before she had to leave in 2008). One day I really hope that I will be a doctor.
- What will you miss about City Plaza?
I will miss my friends here. I will miss my room. I will miss everyone.
- How do you participate in the self-organisation of City Plaza?
I work in the kitchen preparing food mostly. I also help with the general cleaning of the building and I love to help volunteers to run the children’s activities.
- Have you learnt any words here in the languages of refugees from other countries?
In the last few months I’ve learnt how to say the basics, hello/how are you?/I’m fine, and you?/Where are you from?/I’m from Syria, in Kurdish.
- What is your best memory so far at City Plaza?
The first day I arrived here. When I arrived I was so dirty! (Laughs) I hadn’t known what it would be like at City Plaza, I thought maybe it would be like the last squat I lived in, empty and dirty. So, I arrived at City Plaza with many bags. They were full of everything I owned (broken plates, old blankets). I remember Olga (member of the coordination team at City Plaza) laughed when she saw me.
Everyone took my bags from my hands and threw away my broken belongings. I was shown to my room, given clean blankets, good clothes, everything I needed to live in dignity again. It was the best day.
- City Plaza is not supported by NGOs and is supported entirely by donations from around the world . What does solidarity mean to you?
Solidarity has to mean love without racism. If we can all stand strong together we can build and rebuild to create beautiful things in this world.
Detail of the day:
Today I was very tired. I slept a lot and now I’m in my aunts’ room drinking tea.
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