A STORY TO BE HEARD

Migrating to a new country is life changing! Over the course of InCommon we came across interesting stories showing how your culture, and the host country culture influence someone’s life and shapes beliefs.

A Story to Be Heard aims to promote women’s self-expression through story telling.

The stories told here must be understood within the context of the InCommon project. Some come from the free expression of the participants and others respond to exercises of creativity that aimed to eliminate blockages or create trust and bonds between the members of a group.
All stories deserve the utmost respect and we thank the participants for their generosity in sharing some difficult moments in their lives, no matter how big or small the situations may seem.

3 SOLO STORY ES

Story overwiew:

Juana tells her arrival to the Madrid airport and how scared she felt on the migrant queue. She was warned by her mother not to put herself in the queue that led to a bald cop because he was reputed to be very strict with the papers. She felt lost in the big airport and scared. She was switching queues so nervous to finally arrive by chance to another desk with a friendly policeman that asked her about the reasons of her trip to Spain and wished her a nice stay. Once he sealed the passport she had a quiet time and she couldn’t stop laughing to release the anxiety and fear she experienced before.

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Story overview:

I’m from Syria. We had to leave our country because of the war and the bombings. For two months we have been trying to get into Turkey. When we did, the Turks arrested the men, and we, the women with our children, were sent back to Syria. My husband stayed in jail and luckily later managed to get out and get into Greece. I stayed behind with the children and after months of effort we were able to get to the island and meet again as a family.

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Story overview:

I am from Iraq. My husband was a military man. When ISIS came they threatened us, threatened my husband, we were afraid for our lives and left with our children to Turkey. The behavior of the Turks was very bad. They took our money, we didn’t even have to eat. We managed to get on a boat and went to Greece. During the trip, water was getting into the boat, we were so scared! The Harbour Guard rescued us and took us to an island. Thank God they treated us very well in Greece, they embraced us. We now live in an apartment in Larissa and we are fine.

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Story overview:

We left Iraq because it is a country dominated by militias and it was very dangerous for my husband working in the army. We went to Arbil and from there to Turkey. On our trip to Greece by sea by boat we saw death with our own eyes. My kids were under my feet, we ran out of gasoline, water was getting into the boat. So difficult! So scary! I’ll never forget that my daughter’s hair fell out of fear.

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A few years ago in Iraq, where I came from, we had many problems and difficulties in survival. This forced us to leave for Syria, where we applied for asylum. They gave us and as soon as we started a new life, the war started. Refugees again, we left with many difficulties for Turkey and from there we tried to cross Greece. We went through so much trouble, we saw death with our eyes on this journey. I don’t even want to remember it. My son has severe autoimmune disease and we are trying to do what we can for him. For our children, we are struggling to have a better future and health.

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Story overview:

From Palestine I crossed the Rafah crossing to Egypt and after to Turkey. Many difficulties along the way. My son was waiting for me there. He was hiding so that his cousins would not kill him. I grew him up on my own, his father was killed when I was pregnant. We had a hard time in Turkey, they put us in jail. We tried to cross Greece many times, but eventually we succeeded. Unfortunately on the island I got seriously ill. They transported us to Larissa where we live with my son in an apartment and do my chemotherapy in the hospital. Thanks so much for the help.

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My home country is Iraq. Homeland is like mom but we lost it because ISIS bombed our house. We were saved by miracle and we left for Turkey. Three times we tried to cross the border. The Turks caught us, tortured us, stole our money, our gold, beat us but thank God we managed to passed to Greece. They took me from the boat straight to a hospital. They took care of us. They take care of us, just us well we arrived in Greece. Everything is so difficult! Noone should live what we did.

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Story overview:

In my country, Iraq, the conditions were very difficult to survive, and despite all the health problems that my parents had, we decided to leave so as to be more secure. We went to Turkey and with many difficulties managed to reach Greece by boat. Fortunately we succeeded and we hope for a better future in Europe.

2 GROUP STORY ES

Brief description:
The story comes up in a creative exercise consisting in elaborate a narrative that contains three random words. This method helped women to eliminate blockages and share fantasies and dreams freely, no matter what surreal it may come.

A Russian woman arrives to Madrid on holidays but she did not find what she expected: a paradise land, beaches and all the picture. She ended up visiting Santander after be adviced: she was amazed to see this city so beautiful. She made many friends and began speaking regularly in Spanish, she did not want to leave but she had to return to Russia. Once in Russia, she talked with her daughter and proposed her to visit together Santander. In this second visit, she met a Spaniard man. They had a date at the lighthouse and… fall in love. A touristic trip changed her life and now she is living in Santander.

1 GROUP STORY ES

Brief description:
The story comes up in a creative exercise consisting in elaborate a narrative that contains three random words. It is a fantasy about what could happen in a football match that gathers the presidents of Cantabria and Moldova:
Last Thursday, at the Santiago Bernabéu, in a friendly football match between Spain and Moldova, we met Miguel Angel Revilla, (President of Cantabria) enjoying an afternoon of football, laughing and talking with people in the VIP area very close to the field. Among the people was also the president of Moldova, Dodon, who laughed out loud with Revilla. At that moment, in the field, Andrés Iniesta (football player), threw a corner so strong, that the ball left the field and went straight to Revilla’s head causing him to lose his memory. When he reacted from the coup he was another person. And he started kissing Dodon, who got excited and reciprocated the kiss passionately at the stupefaction of the cameras and the people watching the game.

3 GROUP STORY ES

Brief description:
The story comes up in a narrative exercise consisting in elaborate a narrative that contains three random words:
A Filipino grandmother landed in Barcelona for regrouping with her daughter. At first, she felt a little scared because her daughter was not coming yet to pick her up and she did not understand Spanish well. She asked for help but nobody understood her. Finally she found her daughter, but not alone… big news… She had many children, so she had several grandchildren. She did not know because mother and daughter were angry and the communication did not flow well.  She felt very happy and all the anger was left behind.
They went for a walk in Barcelona. She was delighted to share something totally different from the experienced in her country. She tasted other types of food and after eating some “rabas” (calamari), she felt ill because she had eaten more than she should. She had to go to the hospital and have a hard time but the affection of love ones helped her to overcome the situation.

4 GROUP STORY ES

Brief description:
The story comes up in a narrative exercise consisting in elaborate a narrative that contains three random words:
A Peruvian couple dreams of traveling to Madrid to try ceviche as they have been told that there is a place in Madrid that makes ceviche better than in Peru itself.
They are surprised because it really is, but the woman was angry because she can not admit that the best ceviche was done outside Peru. Finally they found that all were right the best ceviche was done in Madrid but the owners of the restaurant were Peruvian. Thus they said: nowhere in the world can make ceviche better than in Peru unless they are from Peru.

1 SOLO STORY ES

Story overview:
Juana describes the reasons that led her to quit Venezuela and come to Spain. She left in Venezuela her life, family, friends and all. The situation was unbearable for her due to corruption, lack of food and medicines, insecurity, insufficient health services… She was working for 8 years in a supermarket and she talks about the frustration of not being able to handle the angry people who complained for hungry and lack of food. Even the high degree of violence and theft, also from the police itself.
Now she is starting from zero but happy to stay in Spain and have found good persons in this new destination.

2 SOLO STORY ES

Story overview:
Gabriela speaks about the first cultural shock she had in Spain:
The first time I’d been in Spain was in the area of Cadaqués, on the border with France. It was summer and hot weather. We visited the coastal villages and had dinner in a restaurant near Cadaqués. The dinner was delicious, although I don’t remember what it was, but what I do remember the dessert. They offered me several things and I chose fruit because in Mexico is a cocktail of fruits, similar to what is called Macedonia in Spain. I was astonished when the waiter came with only a small plate with an apple and a knife. And that was my first cultural shock.

4 SOLO STORY ES

Story overview:

Kelly came to Spain to fulfil the dream to meet her husband. She was even happiest because she brought also her daughter. The greatest joy was to be able to group the family. She feel happy here for safety, landscapes, nature, everything has been wonderful for her and she manages quite well in this new situation. Now, for the moment, she is sure to stay.

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Story overview:

The first time I arrived in Europe was at Madrid airport. At first, I felt some fear and uncertainty because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I stayed in the airport waiting for the red card that allowed the residence in the country. Four days passed but finally… good news!… we were able to leave the airport with the card. We did not have a work permit yet but we were already legal.
The first city I visited in Spain was Madrid. I was very much in love with the city and the people, their kindness. Despite everything that happened, I feel it’s worth it. Now, in Santander I can make my life, I have a better quality of life, this is an opportunity to improve myself as a person and also an opportunity to my partner. The bad moments passed. I’m proud because I can help my family and I finished my studies.

6 SOLO STORY ES

Story overview:

The first time I arrived to Spain, I got a little nervous with the papers because one of my daughters was a minor. I got nervous but actually she was the one who solved the problem. They asked me for the documents, the travel bag but they finally sealed everything and we calmed dowm. And I came here, to Santander and I found it very beautiful and peaceful. Now my daughter does not want to leave here, she says she wants to make a life plan here.

AT STORY 1

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Freshta from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria for the past 5 years. She talks about her family and her children. She loves the natural landscape in Austria and enjoys her freedom. Her hobbies are playing with her children and learning German.

AT STORY 2

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Malika from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria. She talks about the importance of her family and her children. Her hobbies are playing with her children and cooking Afghani dishes for her international friends.

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Fatema from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria for the past 3 years. She talks about her family and her daughter. She loves the friendly people in Austria and enjoys music, playing with her daughter and learning German.

AT STORY 4

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Adele from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria for the past 4 years. She talks about her 3 sons and her daughter. She loves bicycling in Austria and enjoys sport. Her hobbies are hiking and learning German.

AT STORY 5

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Nazila from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria. She talks about her husband and her daughter. She values family very much and her hobbies are playing with her daughter and cooking Afghani dishes.

AT STORY 6

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Zahra N from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria. She talks about her motivation to learn German. She loves her life in the new country and has little time for her hobbies, as she is learning German.

AT STORY 7

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Zahra M from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria and talks about her family and her son and 2 daughters. She loves food and her hobbies are cooking traditional Afghani dishes.

AT STORY 8

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Sara M from Iran shares about her life in Austria. She talks about her marriage and her 2 daughters. She is a Beautician and narrates about her job as hairdresser in Austria. She enjoys cooking and her hobbies are dancing and singing.

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Flavie from Congo shares about her life in Austria. She talks about her family and her daughter. She loves dancing and the cultural activities in Austria. She enjoys her voluntary work as a nurse for the aged.

AT STORY 10

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Hassina from Syria shares about her life in Austria. She is married and has 6 children. She loves the natural landscape in Austria. Her hobbies are hiking, cycling and dancing traditional folk dances.

AT STORY 11

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Abir from Syria shares about her life in Austria and her role as a mother. She loves her 6 children. She enjoys her job as a Kindergarten Assistant as she loves being with young children.

AT STORY 12

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Ibtisam from Syria shares about her life in Austria over the past 5 years. She is married and has 4 children. She loves traditional cuisine and her hobbies are cooking and hiking in the mountains.

AT STORY 13

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Amnat from Tchechenya shares about her life in Austria, her home for over 16 years. She is married and has 5 children. Her hobbies are cooking international food, walking in the nature and reading.

AT STORY 14

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Aytaj from Azerbaijan shares about her life in Austria. She is married and has a daughter. She loves gender equality in Austria and values her freedom. Her hobbies are hiking, cycling, swimming in the lake and reading books.

AT STORY 15

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Zeena from Iraq shares about her life in Austria over the past 5 years. She talks about her 3 sons and 1 daughter. She loves democracy and freedom in Austria. She studies at the University to finish her Masters and loves singing.

AT STORY 16

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Amira from Iraq shares about her life in Austria. She is married and looks forward to having children in future. She loves cooking her favourite dishes and enjoys her work as a Nurse for the aged.

AT STORY 17

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Wequar  from Iraq  shares about her life in Austria over the last 5 years. She is married and has 2 sons. She loves the natural landscape in Austria. Her hobbies are hiking, and cooking.

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Aala from Iraq shares about her life in Austria as a Youtube bolgger. She is married and has 2 sons. She loves cooking traditional dishes and runs a popular YouTube channel about cooking.

AT STORY 19

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Nadja from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria. She is married and has 3 children. She loves the natural landscape in Austria. Her hobbies are hiking, cooking and dancing traditional folk dances.

AT STORY 20

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Arezzo from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria. She is married and has 2 sons and 1 daughter. She is a hobby tailor and stitches clothes in her free time. Her hobbies are hiking, cycling and dancing traditional folk dances.

AT STORY 21

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Noah from Iraq shares about her life in Austria. She is married and has 1 son and her daughter lives in Iraq. She loves cooking traditional dishes and is passionate about spiritual music.

AT STORY 22

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Azizul from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria. She is a widow and has 1 son, who supports her. She loves cooking traditional dishes and spends her time in prayers and singing.

AT STORY 23

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Ruaa  from Iraq  shares about her life in Austria over the last 3 years. She is married and has 2 children. She supports her husband in his hair dressing business. Her hobbies are singing traditional songs, and cooking.

AT STORY 24

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Freshta from Afghanistan shares about her life in Austria. She is not married and has adopted 1 child. She loves the natural landscape in Austria. Her hobbies are hiking, cycling and sport. As a tailor, she loves designing dresses and decorating.

AT STORY 25

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Leila from Iran shares about her life in Austria. She is married and values family relations. She loves the lake and enjoys walking near the lake in Austria. Her hobbies are walking, cooking and singing folk songs.

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Story overview:

I am from Iraq. Our trip from Turkey to Greece was very difficult because our traffickers were constantly lying and forcing us to walk in the mountains for many hours without a destination. We had a lot of little kids with their families who have suffered. For the first time I saw such a situation. Due to my sadness my pressure went up, I got sick one night in the mountains, we were threatened of wild animals and we were so scared. We walked for days and finally happily arrived in Greece. They sent us to Thessaloniki and three months later we came to Larissa and now we stay in an apartment.