Shero Mohammed (from Damascus, Syria) is one of 3 chefs at City Plaza. Tonight is ‘The City Plaza Family Meal’. Everyone living at City Plaza is spending an evening together, sharing food, listening to music and dancing.
Children living at City Plaza have spent the week making decorations for the meal and Moustafa Haj Rashid (Florist from Aleppo, Syria) is flower arrangements for the tables.
Shero talks about how things work in the kitchen at City Plaza:
- How does the kitchen work?
We receive some food as direct donations, so it can vary what we have in the kitchen week by week. Which food we’re able to buy for the meals at Plaza depends on how much money is donated.
There are 400 people living at City Plaza and there are 3 meals daily, so that’s 1,200 a day. It’s a big opperation. We use what we have as best we can.
All of the refugees living at City Plaza have to do 1 shift a week in the kitchen. But the kitchen is always open to everyone. Some volunteers come to help from outside, some volunteers who are living at Plaza help. In the kitchen everyone is equal. No matter where you’re from or which language you speak, in the City Plaza kitchen is equal, we do everything as one team.
- What are the challenges in the kitchen?
Everyone who works in the kitchen has to respect the order of things. It’s sometimes a challenge to organise but generally everything goes smoothly. We all help each other. The main challenge though is finding ways to use what we have to cook good meals. We just really need more donations to improve the quality of the food.
- Why do you like to be in the kitchen?
Working in a kitchen has always been a part of my life (Shero worked as a chef in a resturant in Syria). I never forget the fact that since I left the war and came to Europe I hadn’t had a home or security until I came to City Plaza.
I feel that I’m in my second home. I do all that I can to help. And cooking is the best way I can. It never feels like work or a duty to be the chef, I do everything in the kitchen with love.
Shero in the kitchen this afternoon
- What is a typical meal at City Plaza?
(Laughs) Potatoes, pasta, potatoes, pasta. A really special meal here is having meat and rice. I love to cook rice with chicken in sauce, a Syrian meal. When the food is really good, it gives people here real pleasure. They smile when they eat.
- How would you describe the atmosphere in the kitchen?
Really, it’s great. People are always talking and singing while we prepare the food. We listen to music. The company is good. I never feel like we get tired.
Even after a long shift I don’t feel tired until it’s finished, and then I sleep so well! I sleep so well because I feel satisfied. It’s the best feeling to know that I’ve made people happy with my food.
- Why is it important for everyone to spend an evening together sharing food at City Plaza?
We’re all human and we all have to help each other and share what we have in harmony. Today ‘The City Plaza Family Meal’ is an example of how City Plaza works at its best. Food is a way to bring us all together. We prepare the food, cook, eat, wash the dishes… together. We are in our home here.
Photos taken at The City Plaza Family Meal this evening
- How would donations from the City Plaza crowdfunding campaign help the kitchen?
Having more money for the kitchen would make so much difference to the kitchen. 100% it would improve the lives and health of everyone here. Especially for the children, the pregnant women and people who are sick. If we could afford to we could provide more balanced, healthy meals.
City Plaza is not supported by NGOs, it relies entirely on solidarity and donations from around the world.
However small or big your donation, every little will help. Everyone at City Plaza thanks you for your kindness and support in helping us to continue to live and work together in our home, to continue to live here in peace, togetherness and solidarity.
Donate here: http://www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen