Levensverhaal van een echte Amsterdammer

Interview met vrouw die vanuit Eritrea als jong meisje naar Nederland kwam. Ze voelt zich een echte Amsterdammer.

[i] Hi, good day.
[r] Hi, good day.
[i] Could you start by ehhh introducing yourself,
[r] Okay.
[i] who you are, how old you are, etc.
[r] Yeah, that’s good. I am [name], I am 39 years old, mother of 4 children, 2 girls and a boy and I live in Uithoorn.
[i] And where are you from?
I’m from Eritrea, born in Asmara.
[i] And you live in?
[r] I live in Uithoorn now.
[i] But you grew up in Amsterdam, is that right?
[r] Yes, I grew up in Amsterdam, so I’m a real Amsterdammer.
[i] And about what age did you come to Holland?
[r] I was 7 when I came to Holland.
[i] Ok.
[i] And you had ehh we had discussed the item you had chosen.
[r] Yes, I do have an object, that is ehh this thing ehmmm here is a very small glass jar that you don’t see, but there is a small glass jar in there where kohl is, kohl in front of your eyes. Some kind of eye pencil. This object was made by my grandmother, when she heard that I was going to Europe she started it, I remember that very well because I remember very well how she made it, as a little child I sat next to her and then she went to work. And ehh this I have just before I left she finished it, then I got it from her and later my grandmother came, after I was 7 or 8 years in Holland she came to Holland she came to see us and then I showed that from, grandmother I still have these from you. Then she says ooh well it’s actually not finished so I’m going to make it even more beautiful, later she made this little rubel but that’s a typical thing I took with me from Eritrea which is just very valuable to me and the only thing I have left of my grandmother.
Ok, and does it mean that much to you because it’s from your grandmother?
[r] Yeah.
[i] Or is it just because it came from Eritrea?
[r] Well, actually, both. It came with me. I brought it with me, so really. It travels everywhere with me, say, it was made by my grandmother, I remember very well that my grandmother was working on this so that is also a piece of childhood memory of how things went there and something I always have with me and say, that I always hope to take with me where I go.
[i] And ehh you’ve actually had it with you your whole life, even when you lived at home and
[r] It’s always been in my room and now it’s still in my room so it’s really one of those things that goes with me, to where I’m going to live it just goes with me.
[i] Have you ever used it or is it really just a ehhh
[r] No I’ve never used it there’s nothing in it either, not like it’s supposed to be kohl d’rin, there’s nothing in it at all and it’s just pure for the way it is and not so much what it’s meant for.
[i] Ok, you’ve already told us a little bit about your family so maybe we can go on in there.
[r] Yeah, yeah.
[i] Can you maybe tell me what kind of family you grew up in, what kind of family?
[r] Ehhh well, I grew up ehhhh Well would I start where in Eritrea or here in Holland?
[i] From the beginning.
[r] From the beginning, yes ok, I grew up actually with my grandparents my parents who came to Holland when I was 1 year old. My father who was a marine and he came here for a course to Vlissingen and my mother who was allowed to come with me that would be a course of 2 to 3 months so they went with me, they both came to Europe and I stayed behind with grandpa and grandma and ehh meanwhile they couldn’t go back, it was too restless, it just wasn’t safe to return so my parents have applied for asylum here in the Netherlands and in the meantime also indicated that they left a little daughter behind and I lived with grandpa and grandma in the meantime. On one side one week the grandfather from my father’s side and the other week at my mother’s side. I was quite spoiled, I didn’t have it bad, it sounds very pathetic without parents but I didn’t have it bad at all and when I was 7 they finally managed to persuade me to come to the Netherlands. So I came to Holland at the age of 7 and meanwhile I had a sister with me, she was 1,5 years old at that time and ehh here I grew up with eh together with my sister and parents in Amsterdam.
[i] Ok, and in which district of Amsterdam is that?
[r] In Amsterdam South East, in the Bijlmer there we grew up, yes.
[i] And did you stay there the whole time until you left the house?
[r] Yes, I was about what it will be 21. Then I went to live on my own in Diemen, I didn’t like that and eventually I had a house in Amsterdam West and that was just a very nice time, I have always lived very pleasantly in Amsterdam.
[i] And how did you like the time in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam South East maybe you can tell something about that.
[r] Yes that was ehhh we first lived in the old part what really is the Bijlmer say but we lived there for 4 years and then we moved to the newer part of the Bijlmer, still the Bijlmer but, I must say you don’t know better I have always had a very pleasant time I just felt at home. You have your friends and girlfriends there, you’re familiar everywhere. And of course there were also the less pleasant aspects of the Bijlmer but there we, where we lived we got very little of it that is ehhh it has partly to do with because we lived in a relatively new neighborhood of the Bijlmer. So ehh but eehh always very pleasant I ehhh stronger my sister who went to live in Amstelveen at one point and I took her away in the evening, well I really didn’t feel comfortable in Amstelveen, I was happy to be back in the southeast if I was just home again, so it’s what you’re used to and where you grew up.
[i] Yeah, yeah, and where, you said you lived in Eritrea until you were 7 years old, where in Eritrea did you live?
[r] In Asmara.
[i] And what kind of memories do you have of that town?
[r] Ehhmm, yes, very nice memories what I said, I lived one week on my father’s side my father’s parents and the other week my mother’s parents and my mother who had even younger brothers and those were my, well, almost my brothers you can say and I was the youngest there and I was always spoiled and I just had a very nice, very nice time.
[i] And what do you remember about your time there? Say except that between the two of you
[r] Yes, I remember there was of course war in those days, it was restless, it was unsafe in the sense that I could not go to school alone so I was always brought and picked up and ehhh well you do play outside in the neighborhood, but of course you don’t go too far, up to a certain limit. Ehmmm, I remember that but for the rest, yes I went to school there ehh until the second class I went to school there, was a very nice school period what I got and for the rest, yes, yes nothing else as pleasant.
[i] Ok, and which district in ehh Asmara did you live in, remember?
[r] Ehhh yes I must say that my father’s parents lived in May Temenai, actually more Embagaliano at the beginning of May Temenai and my mother’s parents lived in Tsetseraat.
[i] Ok.
[r] Yes, they used to live in Forto but I didn’t get that part in Forto on purpose I was when they got older they moved to Tsetseraat and I know that, I know most of it.
[i] And at a certain moment it was the time that you would come to the Netherlands
[r] Yeah.
[i] can you remember exactly how that went down that period?
[r] Yes, yes that was a bit of a crazy period, because I didn’t know any better when I belonged there and of course my mom and dad always told me who lived in Europe, well so be it, but as a child, what you don’t know you don’t miss I always say. I never had the feeling, ‘gosh, I miss my parents because I would like to be with them so much’, it was always, ‘well my parents live in Europe fine and I live here’ and it was the way it was. But at a certain point it’s said well it’s ehh you go to Europe, you go to your parents and then you think ‘yes it’s special’, but on the other hand I also had this feeling of actually I don’t want to leave at all, this is my home. Why do I have to go to Europe because my parents live there, why do I have to leave my familiar area from my homeland. So that was crazy and then ehhh you come to Holland and then on the one hand you think, ‘ooh yes these are my parents here I hear, here I have to grow up’ but on the other hand you think, ‘yes but I am also away from home where I grew up’ and that was also a bit crazy.
[i] Yeah.
[r] And then of course you have to add, you come here somewhere in September and then autumn, well very cold winters back then in the eighties so that was another shock you get and plus I was always the youngest, quite spoiled and then you come here you are the oldest and then you have a younger sister. That was a very strange experience and then you get a bit of responsibility and you’re not the youngest and you’re not spoiled anymore, it took some getting used to in the beginning.
[i] And ehh you said there you were always the eldest there were also other children or were you the only one who with
[r] No I had ehhhh from my mother’s side who had 3 older ones or ehmm for her younger, but for me older brothers, so they were between the age of 16 and grab him 8 or 9 would have been the youngest, the three of them were my big brothers and I was always the youngest in the house on my mother’s side and on my father’s side there were no other children, I was the only child there.
[i] And do you remember what date you might have arrived, do you, do you remember that date or about which Yes you said September.
[r] Yes in September, I am in Holland, I remember because I found that somewhere on September 12th but before I came to Holland I was in Italy for 2 weeks. That was when my parents who were going to Bologna and my mother who had been in Bologna then came to Milan and I flew from Addis Ababa to Milan and there she picked me up.
[i] And September 12th of what year?
[r] ehmm ’82
[i] Okay.
Yeah.
[i] And can you, uh, remember anything about really getting here or?
[r] Yes, yes I remember that very well, I came ehhh well, you come anyway when you entered Europe, for me it was first Milan, well then I think, ‘yes this is it’, but I knew this is not yet my final destination then you are in Europe then I only know my mother picks me up but my father was not there and my sister was there but that all goes a bit past you. And then you know, your final destination is Holland and then you arrive at Schiphol in the evening and then everything is lit up and then you think Ôooh yes this will be Europe’, that makes such an impression on you, all that lighting and all that luxury and new and ehhh and then your father is waiting for you and your mother and your sister then I think, ‘well this is it, well we are completely here I had to go, here I had to live’. “That must be it,” you think, so that was pretty impressive. Yeah, and then you come home and we were living in a flat, something so crazy that you think, ‘does that big building have to be there, which house is ours’? You know, things like that go through your head, so I remember all that.
And what kind of house did you have in Asmara? Just to make that comparison.
[r] Yeah, that was just a detached house, what you’d call a detached house here.
[i] Ok, yeah, and then, um.
[r] Yes then you come in here and ehhh well in the Bijlmermeer in a large concrete apartment buildings and then somewhere in those flats there you live.
[i] And ehhh, well you came to the Netherlands how did your life get started at some point, did you go straight to school or what happened?
[r] Yeah, yeah I went to school pretty fast I remember because ehh yeah September and the schools had started of course and I was 7 years old and erm they had decided for me to just go to the 1st class then, Yes now group 3 that was the 1st class so I could immediately start reading and writing with all the children because that is what you just learn in the first class and I did get extra guidance for the language at school I also had a separate teacher so I was able to pick up the language quite quickly, but in terms of arithmetic and the like because I was actually in Eritrea over to the third class I was a little bit ahead. So that was kind of nice for me that you didn’t lag behind with everything but you had something you were good at and on the other hand you had that language class where you just needed extra help so I always found that very nice that you didn’t have to bump behind with everything.
[i] Ok, and how long do you think it took you to really catch up with that language, do you have any idea?
[r] Well eehhh, instinctively, a year, not even a year because you pick it up so fast being a kid.
[i] Yes and ehmm, just back to Eritrea did you have any friends there that you might have had certain memories of or what did your circle of friends look like?
[r] Well, friends, girlfriends I wouldn’t really say they were more like neighbours and otherwise nieces and nephews because I remember that very well, a lot of contacts with nieces and nephews and those were also a bit my peers so that ehhh there I have of course apart from the fact that you are family of each other and also keep your family ties abroad, but also just a kind of friendship what you had then and that is also a kind of continued friendship. But as far as friends and girlfriends are concerned, no, I was so young that ehh, I can’t say that was another girlfriend from Eritrea that ehh I don’t have that.
[i] So it was more like family ties?
[r] It was more the family ties and possibly neighbors and sometimes you meet them here later and they say ‘ooh yes, but we were neighbors you remember’ and a very vaguely do you think, ‘yes, you must have been the one child I played with, but I can’t say yes I recognize you because we were friends or something’, because I don’t remember all that.
[i] And when you started here in group 3 there were still ehh, yeah, what did your circle of friends look like at that time?
[r] Yes, then ehh, then of course you get to know all new children and then you have to make contacts quickly and then you have and the language barrier and just the whole culture that things are different but, I have to say it was very easy for me I could very quickly have a click with certain children and I found it not difficult at all even though you do not speak the language to make girlfriends. I don’t remember that as a difficult time at all, it was pretty easy I always played outside after school so erm, well and in the flats when you walk across the galleries there all the neighbours were like friends so that was that, That was very easy and ehh yeah friends from when yeah some of them were at one point switched from primary school some of them you went through to the end and they lived near us so you still have some kind of contact with them or when I go to my dad I see them there but ehh for the rest I don’t really have any contacts, well coincidentally a couple of weeks ago a girl spoke to me in a mall she says, ‘you are [name] right?And I say ‘yeah and you are?’ and she recognized me and she did go to primary school for the first 2 years and then I went to primary school in 1982, 1983 so it was nice to be recognized like that and then it goes for a few days, but I hadn’t taken her out myself, so to speak.
[i] Ok, and good so you finished primary school, what did you do after that?
[r] Yes then, after primary school ehh, I’m in group 7, yes, group 7 I switched, my parents had something like the Bijlmer that we have seen but maybe you should go to more what they call a white school then they put us in Oudekerk at school, well that’s very white. My sister and I were the only foreigners and then from Amsterdam so that was very special and I went to school there for 2 years and after that I went to high school I did the HAVO in Amsterdam south at the Sint Nicolaas lyceum and after the HAVO I did MTS fashion and clothing.
[i] Ok, and you also have that education ehhh
[r] Yeah, I finished that one and actually spent 15 years in the fashion business. I also did some design afterwards, be it buying fabrics or production lace or design lace.
[i] And going back to that of the black to white school might be interesting.
[r] Yes.
[i] How did you experience that and what did you think of that time when you were at that school in Bijlmer and had to make that switch ehhh?
[r] Well in the beginning of course I wasn’t happy about that at all, because I went where I liked my girlfriends and I had to take the bus out of Amsterdam to some village further on I had to go to such a huge white school and I found that pretty scary and I didn’t understand why my parents did it, but I have to say afterwards and I’ve said it many times, that’s just the best decision they made for us because if I did, When I look at my girlfriends who still live there what they did for education and where they all ended up I think they didn’t have the same chances as I did at that school in Oudekerk because you come in a completely different environment ehhh learning level was also a lot spicier, Well that broadens your chances I think if I hadn’t been at Oudekerk at school, I would never have ended up at the Sint Nicolaas Lyceum in Amsterdam south, that’s just a consequence of and I think that broadens, broadens your chances on your education and your future and what you want and what you can do.
[i] Can you tell me something about, you say of how my other girlfriends ended up how did they or what happened?
[r] Well, most of them stayed in Amsterdam, most of them went to highschools in Amsterdam southeast, well ehhhh, a lot of girlfriends I’ve seen become young mothers so I thought ‘goh I was in your classroom and you’re already walking in a pram’, while I was still doing my MTS training as a way of, that kind of thing I think ‘yes, you know it has other chances if you would have stayed there if you went to Oudekerk’ I do realize that.
[i] Ok, and ehh, we’re not talking ehh, at least we talked about your family but was there a certain religion in your family for example? and ehh what values you think of now this really determined how I was raised?
Ehh yeah from home we are Roman Catholic and we went to church every Sunday that’s one thing, what did my parents really hold back we really went to church every Sunday, we made First Communion and the holy form so everything that goes with it and at some point they kind of let it go. Then it was up to us whether we went to church or not I have to say it’s actually watered down since I started living on my own after that it wasn’t Sunday to church anymore, but the norms and values you got, I did take very strongly but it’s not that I really go to church so strictly anymore, I’m not a churchgoer say but that’s a bit what religion played a role.
[i] Ok, but then you are talking about the norms and values of religion but apart from religion say ehh how can I put it, what have you really gotten along with that you also think now I want to give this to my children for example, is there something specific that for example played in your family?
Eehmm yes also with school, with education hard work always hard work and doing your homework and every now and then I have a fight with my eldest daughter that she has to do her homework. She says it’s for Friday and today is Monday, no it doesn’t matter, you make it today and tomorrow we can do something else. That’s something I got a lot from my dad when your homework is only for Friday, don’t wait until Thursday, make it Monday and then see what else you can do on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. That’s something you do consciously or unconsciously take that to your own children and always insist that you just have to do your best and work very hard. If you work very hard and I also say that in terms of numbers when you have done your best and you get a 7 mamma is more happy if you do nothing and you get a 9 it’s about working hard and doing your best and that is also something I got from home.
[i] Ok, and about your children by the way we haven’t talked about that yet you have 3 children you said, how old are they, what are their names?
[r] Ehh [name] is the oldest one who turned 10 last October and then we have [name] who is 7 who will turn 8 in April and [name] the little one who will soon become 1.
[i] Ok, so a young ehh
[r] Yeah, a young baby yeah
[i] Yes, and ehh, about the Bijlmer in the time you grew up there, were there certain places you really liked to come that you think this is really something in the city you might still go to, or also Amsterdam as a whole for example?
[r] Yes, yes, anyway the center of course, the Dam and the Kalverstraat those are things that ehh, or the Leidseplein from my childhood that I for example Sunday afternoon with my father then went into the city and then we could eat at McDonald’s that is something that remains that is just a ritual so when I come to the Leidseplein I always think ‘ooh yes, Sunday afternoon with my father to the McDonald’s’ so that sort of thing. That’s what you keep up with in Amsterdam and for the rest in the Bijlmer yes the mall there I have my first job in a flower shop. That’s nice because that flower shop is still there and when I’m in the mall it’s always looking like ‘ooh yeah, he’s still there’, you know that kind of stuff that’s always nice to see again.
[i] And how did you discover the city at one point, yeah, when you lived in Amsterdam? I suppose at a certain point there was a certain age that you were going to go there yourself, and…
[r] Yeah, yeah, I went to high school because primary school was in Oudekerk and from Oudekerk I went with my girlfriends more to Amstelveen because they were all allowed to go to Amstelveen and Amsterdam was just a bit too far so I always went to Amstelveen with them, ehmm, but I only really discovered Amsterdam from high school when I was in junior high. I was at school in Amsterdam south and then the link to the city centre is very easy to make and then you can get to the city centre more easily.
[i] Ok, and how do you see, yourself how would you describe yourself anyway and how do you see, yourself you think of now I’m an Amsterdammer, I’m Eritrean I’m a bit of both, how would you describe yourself?
[r] Yes, I am a bit of both and within the Dutch I feel most of all an Amsterdammer. Because I always say I wouldn’t want to stay in Uithoorn when the children grow up. I wouldn’t go to Amsterdam with children because I like it the way I have it here, it’s just really very friendly, child friendly village where I live but as soon as the children are older and out of the house I really wouldn’t want to stay in Uithoorn then I really want to go back to Amsterdam.
[i] And why wouldn’t you want to stay in Uithoorn?
[r] It’s, it’s ehmm, yes, what I say it’s very nice for young families, but as an older one it’s ehmm, no, you’ve seen it then you’re done in Uithoorn and then it’s just done. In Amsterdam you get much more active I see it also very much to my mother there is just so much more to do in Amsterdam than in Uithoorn so I would ehh, and I’m just a city person. I also came to live in Uithoorn just because I had a car and I worked in Leiden and then I thought it would be fine if I had my place to sleep in Uithoorn otherwise I would never have come to Uithoorn, I really didn’t want to live here. But yes, once here and then with the children I think yes it’s fine, in the end it works well, it will be fine.
[i] When did you actually move to Uithoorn?
[r] I’m ehhh, look, we have lived in this house for 9 years now and before that I lived in an apartment for 3 years so ehhh, 12 years ago.
[i] Ok, and that was because of your work?
[r] Yes, yes I could I lived in Amsterdam 3 high behind really literally 3 high behind a very nice apartment but pretty small and ehh my uncle who lived here in Uithoorn and who had a very nice spacious apartment, pretty new and who wanted to go to Amsterdam and I wanted more spacious and that did not matter to me Uithoorn or Amsterdam so so we have done a house exchange and he just went to Amsterdam and I have a very nice apartment here can get so it was a good deal yes a good exchange.
[i] And suppose you would move back to Amsterdam in the future, do you know which district you would like to go to or which district?
Yeah, Amsterdam west. I think Amsterdam west, I wouldn’t really want to move back to the Bijlmer, yes you know, by that time you don’t know of course the Bijlmer now is not the Bijlmer I grew up in so I don’t know what the Bijlmer will look like by that time either but Amsterdam west I have lived for 3 years and that’s just such a nice neighborhood and my mother now lives in Amsterdam west and when I compare that every time I think ‘yes, if I would like somewhere in Amsterdam then it is Amsterdam west’. Then you’re pretty close to the center, it’s not the hustle and bustle but you have that whole culture of Amsterdam west that attracts me.
[i] Ok, and what for, can you explain what it is that attracts you exactly, you say culture but what kind of things do you mean exactly?
[r] Yes you have culture you have ehhh yes a lot of Moroccans, Turks, Surinamese, Antilleans there really live all kinds of things in Amsterdam west while in the Bijlmer you dominate one population in Amsterdam east dominates in other populations and that I do not find in Amsterdam west and also that part where I lived Bos Lommer it’s pretty new and hip and now, Yes, that doesn’t mean it’s still against the direction that I’m going to Amsterdam maybe it’s nothing but, as it stands now I think, ‘yes, if I wanted to live in Amsterdam I would want to come back here anyway’.
[i] Ok, uh, clearly I’m uhh cheating on my notes I wanted to go back to the period when you left. When you left Eritrea did you have certain fantasies about what it might be like in Europe or certain ideas when certain things still occur to you?
No, no, not at all I remember everyone around me saying, ‘ooh, that’s so pathetic being your parents in Europe and you’re here’ and I always had this feeling of I’m not pathetic at all I don’t know any more than this, my parents, yes, that’s 2 people that are my parents but apart from that I don’t have anything else I know you I was so young when they left that I can’t say at all I’m very pathetic because I miss them, then I can’t say at all. I didn’t have the image of: ‘ooh, but if I go to Europe where my parents live then I get it so much nicer or better’ I didn’t have that idea at all so I really didn’t have any expectations of what it would be or what it would look like I think yes I should go yes then I should go, you’re good, you listen and ehh, when it is said there you have it much better, yes, so be it so then you go but I had no expectations at all ehh,
[i] Ok, so not a certain impression when you came into Holland except that it was cold?
[r] Yes, it was very cold and that I thought, ‘yes, this must be Europe, it is very enlightened’ and, yes, you know you arrive at Schiphol Airport and everything is super enlightened and then you drive along Aalsmeer all those flower greenhouses that I remember that is a big light feast and then I think Europe will look like that, ehh yes maybe they are right, Maybe I should live here better than in Eritrea but, that all went a little bit past me and I had something like now it didn’t have to. I had the idea that others needed me to go to Europe more than I needed to go to Europe myself.
[i] And ehh, you said at one point you were in high school so you had girlfriends who were allowed to go out in Amstelveen.
[r] Yeah.
[i] What else did your circle of friends look like, did you often have contacts with people at school or did you also have a certain link with the Eritrean community?
[r] Yes, I definitely had a link with the Eritrean community because we used to go to all those meetings and gatherings where my parents came so then you also get to know children and there you also build up a kind of friendship and then you always had your Eritrean friends who regularly came to parties and gatherings and things like that and as you get older you also keep meeting them, but also things where you just go on your own and then they also came on their own and then you have your friends but of course I also had my friends from school and girlfriends from school.
[i] Yes
[r] and that just ran parallel to each other that just, yeah, that always went well never, never crossed but I always had my Eritrean friends that I just had a great time with but I also had my school friends that I just had a great time with.
[i] Ok, and how did you get there, you say certain activities that took place were that when you were older or was that from an early age your parents might have consciously introduced you to that community. How did that happen exactly?
[r] Yes, I would say conscious as subconscious, they come to meetings and of course you go along and those other parents take their children and then when there was another meeting then you automatically went along because you knew that your girlfriend came along, if it was true that only parents were among each other then you didn’t want anymore but because all those children came along you had something like now then we go along, we play those parents who do but we do play. And so with parties and so on and then you get older and then you meet up with each other or you go to parties where maybe your parents don’t go or you have a meeting where your parents don’t go, but where you consciously choose to go there with your Eritrean friends through the years.
[i] Yes, and what does your social circle look like today, your circle of friends with what kind of people you deal with?
[r] It’s mostly families and mothers that’s very different. Yeah, I have, uh, of course you still have contacts with friends that are still your friends from the old days but most of them have a family of their own and then you, you still have contact but that’s different. Now eehmm, we have for example ukub and ehh nowadays it is so that our children ask when there is [name] again, we have something like now we see each other on the birthday or whatever but for the children it has become a bigger role than for us so that gives you also a kind of bond, but of course you also have friends from the past where you have social media and facebook that you think, ooh from the old days what fun I’m also going to get in touch with that’, you know that kind of friends you have, yes, a kind of band still a click even though you don’t see each other for years and if it’s a chat yes then you have a chat then you think yes, yes you know, that would have been a very nice time.
[i] Yeah, you told me about ukub, can you maybe tell me what that is?
[r] Yes, yes it started with us ehmm a mother of one of our friends who was here and who saw that we met regularly with a reasonable circle of friends and then at some point she says, ‘yes, you should actually start ukub, because then you have some kind of obligation that you see each other every time’. That’s how it started with us and in the beginning it was ukub with money of course we put money in a jar and then every once in a while someone would get the jar and then you would do something nice with it. But ehhmm, well that jar is a bit diluted because we saved up a couple of times we went on holiday together, so that took a couple of years. But at a certain point that jar is watered down and we just left it for what it is, but our ukub still exists and what I will say to the children who have kind of adopted that they just send an app from when is eehh, who is the next ukub so that’s very nice to see that it is skipped on those children but our bond has become stronger because of that you will always see each other, even if you have birthdays and such of those children but that ukub is something that always just keeps going wrong.
[i] And how many people does the group consist of and do you really go to someone else’s house every time?
[r] Yeah, yeah it’s a bit of a change you have the, yeah, I guess 8, 9 just the fixed core and besides that we always have people coming in and then stepping out so you’ve always had that change but now it’s mainly family and some friends around it, well, now it’s almost family but that’s really just a fixed click and then it rotates. One time it’s at our house and then next time it’s at someone else’s house again and then we try to have lunch and an afternoon or dinner and then a long evening so it has to be something more like a quick meal and away. We stay a bit longer.
[i] And all the children are coming along you said, how many children are there now?
[r] Yes, yes, well, on average we are the only one with 3 and the rest is all 2 per family so we have ehhh, well 6 or 8 children.
[i] Quite a large group ehhh
[r] Yeah, yeah that’s just the kids and besides that you have no kids, the singles that ehh tickles on.
[i] And ehh, well you said you were going to work after your MTS, 14 years I believe you said?
[r] Yeah, yeah I believe I took ’em away 14 years.
[i] And what did you do after that?
[r] well ehh, yeah that clothing that is, there’s still a bit of my passion, but that’s a difficult world, sometimes it goes very well, sometimes it goes very badly. So ehh, at one point I was a little bit done with it, I had something like now it’s finished with that clothing, I just leave it what it is and ehh, since 3 years we now have a scooter shop together with [name] and ehh, There I started just doing in the shop and administration and now I do that a little bit in the background, but mainly we have a partner in it [name] and he has actually completely taken care of it with anyway [name] in the background and me for the administration occasionally where necessary.
[i] Yeah, yeah, and where is that scooter business?
[r] Here in Uithoorn
[i] Ok, and how did you decide to do that?
[r] Yeah, it’s actually been a bit of a hobby of [name] out of control. He started with ehh, friends of his, who had a scooter shop here and he rolled in a bit, ehmm, imported scooters and looked how this went with the sales and such, well that went pretty well and those guys who wanted to get bigger at some point who moved from Uithoorn to Amsterdam and ehh, [name] who was like, ‘yo, you started here in Uithoorn, you’ve got your clientele here and of course you don’t just leave them here and you just go all the way to Amsterdam’. So then he had the idea if we look for a building here and see how far we can get and then just the customers who are already built up here that you pick them up and possibly expand and so we found a building here and we just started our own toko and I have to say it’s going pretty well.
[i] Nice. It’s going well?
Yeah, it’s going well, yeah.
[i] Ok, and ehh, well, you live in Uithoorn now maybe you can tell me something about Uithoorn itself like we just talked about Amsterdam are there any particular places you like to come here?
Yes, ehmm, Uithoorn is ehhmm, yes quite small, not very small that it’s really very picturesque because I think it’s pretty town but I think Uithoorn is a very nice village because it’s ehmm, it’s pretty down-to-earth and a lot of people come from the city to live here so you have a bit of that city mentality you have. But you also have that very cozy village of really born and raised Uithoornaren you also have so I just like that mix and just ehmm, that those children here can easily go to school themselves, it is a piece of cycling but I dare now that [name] itself on the bike to school. In Amsterdam I don’t have to think about letting my child cycle I ermmm, again it’s what you’re used to but with that idea I think yes then I’m good in Uithoorn, it’s very cozy you have erm, they can play with girlfriends, we live here quite spacious with a, yes, terraced house garden, front yard, behind you have just very much space and I like that very much for those children.
[i] And how is your contact with the neighbors, are you guys pretty much involved with each other or how eh?
[r] Well, it’s not that bad, yes you have more contact with one neighbour than with other neighbours, but in general it’s just good morning, good afternoon, That goes with all the neighbors at one you walk in more often than at others and but it is also the neighbor across the street who has 2 children who sit with my children at school even the same class then you have something more with you and the neighbor further on also so you have that very quickly there are children from this street sitting with my children at school so that gives you a little more bond. And ehh, yes, for the rest yes I’m very easy myself I talk to everything and everyone on the right and left so I have ehh, I have found my niche here in Uithoorn.
[i] And was it also the case in Amsterdam that you just had contact with neighbors? or what can you tell me about that?
[r] No that was much less in Amsterdam, at most the neighbor who lived under me but for the rest ehh no that was also the neighbor downstairs with my parents, directly down there we had contact with but for the rest the neighbors upstairs for example not so that’s very different and ehhh, Yes here in Uithoorn yes that’s ehhh, you know each other and you see each other a lot more often when you bring the children to school and then you see each other again when you go shopping you know, so you can meet each other 3 or 4 times a day so then you also have that contact and that link much faster.
i] How do you think, what exactly do you think, that makes the difference with Amsterdam except that you say from here you meet each other often. Why do you think that the contact was just less, that contact was just less with neighbors in Amsterdam, do you know that or do you have any ideas?
Yes, that’s a good question. No, I wouldn’t really know that maybe people there are a bit more distant than here. Here they are very easy to have a chat with you, in Amsterdam they don’t do that if you just have a good morning’s contact with your neighbors, good morning then you already have reasonably good contact with your neighbors in Amsterdam while here it’s the minimum. And here you just have a quick chat and yes maybe the fact that you meet each other more often I don’t know, maybe that’s more icebreaking and can start a conversation and maybe you have less of that in Amsterdam. At least that’s my experience but that’s also what I have lived with my parents first and then of course you have contact with friends and then later on yourself, yes that was less.
[i] Ok, ehhmmmmmm I have to think carefully. Could you maybe, what were certain key moments in your life or certain events that were important or decisive for you?
[r] Ehhh, jeez one of them was that I came to Holland, that was one and ehh, after that I think the fact that my parents took us to Oudekerk at school. At first I was very angry with my parents, but after that I still say one of the best decisions they ever made for us. Ehhh, ehh, yes, really the switch of your school say but your high school and the choices you make and the further education you make ehmm, after that I also think the fact that I came to live in Uithoorn and started my family here so these are a bit the common thread in my life.
[i] And you were talking about [name] hey, who’s [name]? We haven’t talked about that yet.
[r] [name] ehh, [name] that’s my partner, also comes from Eritrea who I met when I was 21, was going out, nightlife in Rotterdam and Breda, he was living in Breda at the time and ehh yeah who studied in Utrecht and, well, I studied in Amsterdam and then you go out more often with each other and I lived on my own and he came to do an internship in Amsterdam and so we grew closer together and then we decided to live together in Uithoorn.
[i] Ok, and you say in the nightlife you remember exactly where you met? Can you remember anything about that maybe?
[r] Yes, I remember, I actually got to know him through his brother, I really don’t know where but somewhere with going out in Rotterdam I got to know him and they have a sister who was already in fashion, she made her own clothes and she wanted to give a fashion show and so you start talking and then his brother suggested, ‘gosh, my sister is also in fashion and she gives a fashion show you wouldn’t want to run a show for her, wouldn’t you want to help her?’, I said, ‘well’ and so I went to Breda once and then I got to know [name].
[i] Okay, in Breda?
[r] Yeah, I met him in Breda, yeah.
[i] Ok, and can you tell me about your exact meeting with him, where was that, you know?
Well, that wasn’t very impressive. That was just at his house, I was more impressed with his sister who was also in fashion and was going to give a show, I really loved that because I really liked helping her out so I was more impressed and then you get to know [name] his sister and the rest of the family and his mother of course and ehhh, well then you have contact more often because you come to Breda more often and then you are helping and then you go out and with his brother I always liked it very much who always had parties and birthday parties and there you come, now and then you come [name] more and more often. Do you go to Germany with a group for a weekend, do you go out for a weekend and then that band got stronger and stronger, but it wasn’t really that I thought, ‘ooh wow’, that first impression, I was more impressed with and his sister and that fashion and the clothes that ehhh, I found all that much more exciting.
[i] So how many years have you been together now? You said since you were 21
[r] Since I was 21. Well, I may have known him a year or two before, but that we really got into a relationship was from when I was 21.
[i] Ok, and you’re saying he’s your partner are you just living together or are you married?
[r] Yeah living together, no not married just living together.
Ok, um, are there certain things you think, well I’m really proud of this? That could be anything.
Um, yeah, I’d say my kids. Yeah, that’s kind of the first thing, yeah, you could also say yes, the fact that I have a house here and um, a business and of course those are things you’re proud of but my kids are the first thing that comes to mind.
[i] Ok, and ehh you said so your uncle lived here in Uithoorn, what about your wide family circle? so now I know you have 1 uncle, do you have any other family members who also live here in the Netherlands?
[r] yeah, yeah, a lot, a lot. a lot. Well my sister who lives or my sister who has moved to America and furthermore I have my mother who lives here with my brother who still lives with her. My father who remarried and has a family of his own living in England, I have 2 younger sisters and they live in England. My father is regularly in the Netherlands so I see him often and for the rest I have ehh, here in the Netherlands still live 2 uncles so 2 brothers of my mother and the other uncle, who is now as moved to London ehmm, that is the closest family say and also to nieces, nephews further back nieces, back nephews really quite a lot of family.
[i] And you also said on the [name] side of [name] that he has a brother and sister.
[r] Yes, on the side of [name] who ehh, he has, his mother lives here and next to that he has a brother who lives half in Switzerland and half here a brother in Germany and 2 sisters here in the Netherlands and his one sister has a family with 2 boys who lives in Amsterdam and his other sister who lives in Amstelveen. And ehhh, his brother in Germany has a family, his brother in Switzerland has a family so yes all ehh, extended all ehh, young families all nieces and nephews who all grow up together nicely.
[i] Ok, and ehh, I know you came to Holland pretty young, do you feel Holland has changed you?
[r] Yes, I do. I do, I’m ehhh, yes, of course, from home you always get the feeling you’re Eritrese and that feeling keeps you and every time you’re with Eritrese you think, ‘yes, I’m Eritrese’ but on the other hand I think, ‘I’m also very Dutch’, because ehh, I’m 32 years old here and how Dutch you know so I notice in many things that I have changed quite a bit.
[i] And can you, um, tell me exactly what you’ve changed into, for example?
[r] Yes, yes, your way of acting, your way of thinking, your actions, how you raise your children, how you treat your children, how I raise my children, I think, ‘yes, it’s not like my parents raised me’, of course you take a lot of things with you but in other things I think, Yes, my parents wouldn’t have done that that way’, but those are still from the generation just from Eritrea and I am now really the generation I am raising my child here quite Dutch with the influences of my Eritrean parents also the influences from my childhood.
[i] But what do you think the differences are in terms of parenting, hey, what our parents did when they just got here and what you do differently?
[r] Ehhh, I think you, that I argue more with my children. In the sense of ehhh, you let them choose what they want, if you want to do your homework now, we can do it this afternoon if you don’t want us to do it then we’ll, you know that kind of discussions I’ll have with my children I’ll leave them free in their choice. While with my parents it was of, this has to happen and then it happens and you don’t have to ask why, mom and dad said it and then it has to happen and that’s not so last I had also with my daughter, I asked [name] do you want to clean that up? She says ‘no’, I say ‘pardon’. She says, ‘Mom, yes you say you want to clean up, you ask a question’ then I think, ‘ooh yes, no I shouldn’t do that I do it like my mother do, I say you clean up now’. But that wouldn’t quickly occur to me to say of you doing this and that, it’s always more of a question of do it effe because, you know and then she is inclined to say again of, ‘you just ask anyway so then I can just say no’. I wouldn’t have thought it in my head to say that to my mother.
[i] So that’s something you think is really Dutch?
[r] Yes, I think that is something Dutch and then I catch myself thinking, ‘oh yes, my mother didn’t do that at all’, my mother who said, ‘this has to happen point out’. Then you don’t ask questions, then you do it, if you don’t do it well then there are consequences.
[i] Ehmm, let’s see. Are there, yeah, can you tell me about certain disappointments you’ve had or experienced in your life, for example?
[r] Disappointments, jeez yeah, of course you have. But what is a huge disappointment? Yes, if I had one of the disappointments purely for myself then I think, I would have liked so much to have been in that outfit in which I did my training with so much passion, I would have wanted to go on much longer and much further and at one point it was, it was such a bubble, one moment it went very well and when it went wrong, it also went very wrong. That’s a pity that I didn’t go there with so much passion and that passion is kind of very slowly extinct, I think that’s one of the disappointments that makes for the rest, yes of course all kinds of small disappointments of, oh yes it’s a pity that it doesn’t go the way I want it to go but also with the fact that my parents for example really wanted it back to Eritrea, They had seen themselves completely settled there but yes, things run the way they do and it just didn’t work out and I find that a disappointment that I see my father here every time and then have to listen to, yes, if I could have gone back or if I had been back then I could have done this and that or had I gone back then I could have achieved that and all that. Then I think, ‘yes that’s a pity’, but that’s more a pity for someone else, not so much from my own disappointment.
[r] Because you once thought to go back or was it more with your parents?
[i] Well I had, I had, I had, I had, I had, when I started my education I had something like now I’m going to do my education here and then I want to go back to Eritrea and then I want to pull it through there, I also tried to do something with the clothing and fashion now, That all turned out to be so difficult and awkward when I thought, ‘well, you can either go through with it at the cost of a lot of things you have here or you can say I tried but it didn’t turn out the way I want it to and I’m fine here and I’m just going through with it’ and that’s what I finally chose to do. But I did, yes that’s also a bit of a disappointment that I didn’t get to try it the way I wanted.
[i] And can you maybe say exactly what you were trying to put there?
[r] Well, I would have really liked to have what you see a lot from here in terms of clothing, here is designed and production is ultimately all abroad and that piece of production I wanted to put down and I tried that, I did get in contact with various manufacturers and looked at what is your capacity and what we could do for each other. Well in the end it doesn’t work out the way I want it to and it’s, half of it is maybe also due to me, I could have put a little more effort in it but what I said, it would have been at the expense of other things I had here and that was worth more to me that I thought well up to here and no further. Until here I try it and then I’d rather go for what I have here, that’s fine as it is.
[i] Ok, and you already told me you did the training what was the exact name of the training?
[r] MTS fashion and clothing.
[i] Ok, can you tell me exactly what it means and also what kind of work you did in those 14 years.
[r] Ehmm, it was a pretty technical training within the apparel industry so you learned from, well, really simple pattern drawing, sitting behind the sewing machine and putting together a garment. But you also learned, for example, what I graduated in is the production side of how that works in a production company so really in mass productions what do you need it for and how does the garment from the drawing board really get through the production in the shop. So that process and ehh, that’s what I learned and finally I worked in the shop for a while and from there I started to buy fabric, I was really technically busy with fabrics and after that I was that company that had gone bankrupt, I switched to another company and there I worked as a label manager and there I started to do more the design side. So then my side from the Netherlands was to deliver a design to a production country abroad mainly ehm, we did business with Tunisia, China and Turkey, deliver the productions there and then from the productions again make sure that the garment was hanging in the shops of the customer here in the Netherlands.
[i] Ok, and you say that that passion actually disappeared at one point.
[r] Yeah, yeah.
[i] Is it something you might want to pick up again or do you think it’s something that will come back later? What’s your idea about that?
[r] I think maybe it will come back later hear, I keep finding it interesting, I always like it, I always have when I walk into the shops now, then the first thing I do is just feel the garment and yet, as far as that’s concerned, you just remain a trade idiot, you always go and have a look of what is the material and how is it made and how is it put together, you know that kind of thing that stays so that’s just your passion and then I think yes maybe one day I will pick that up again and then again with another vibe my energy into it and then I think from now on I can do it and now I could do some more into it. But then the time I kind of gave up in Eritrea is just because I had a young family and, yeah, I didn’t want to get stuck in it at the expense of my family and who knows I might pick that up in the future.
[i] Do you have any other passions? You’ve told me one now, for example. What else do you have in terms of passions or hobbies?
[r] Yes, in terms of hobbies yes, I’m quite creative so anything with freubeling by hand ehhh, with fabric and wool and stuff like that, I like that.
[i] And what do you make, for example?
[r] Ehh, well, I’ve had my phase that I crocheted a lot of hats and scarves and all of those little things for example something very crafty I had ehh, those girls had for Christmas she wanted to hand out Christmas cards to their girlfriends at dance class and then I would have gotten all of those stars and those Christmas ornaments. But then you just sit at home one afternoon and you think, ‘ooh yeah, I’ve got my rolls’ and then you think, ‘ooh yeah, that’s nice to do again’. So that kind of hobbies and for the rest yes, your children take over a little bit from you so you bump a little dance is a passion, my children are both in dance class I just like that a lot, they do it pretty well so I like to go along with that.
[i] Ok we just talked about children and you said I raise them very Dutch but there are certain things that I give them from being Eritrean. What do you give them, for example?
One of the things I see a big difference is the respect for your parents, how do you deal with your parents. So ehh, in that sense I want them to get that a bit from the Eritrean so you don’t have a big mouth against your parents, you just have a good discussion with each other, but your parents are still your parents so then respect for your parents that’s what I think, they should get that. But also for older people in general, the family ties are very important to me, it’s much closer in the Eritrean community than in the Dutch community. Here in the Dutch community you have a niece and that’s it in Eritrea by way of your sister, you know, you’re so close to each other, you know, and that’s what I’ve always had and that’s what I like to pass on.
[i] Ok, and do you also see that they like that or how, how, do they take that with them?
[i] Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s changing about the family ties because they are really close with their nieces and nephews so I like that they are there, it’s more than just a niece so that they embrace that I like that very much. Ehhmm, ehh, as far as respect to your parents is concerned, it is and stays a struggle because it is going to play with a friend and she sees a friend how she treats her mother and she comes home and then she does the same. Well then you have a fight and then she thinks, ‘oh that doesn’t work with mamma’ and then it’s over. or mamma thinks, ‘yes, maybe I shouldn’t be too strict in that, maybe I should let it feather a bit’, then you meet each other and then you know those are always of those things then that will always stay, it goes two ways, you learn a bit from them and they learn a bit from you so that’s ehhh,
[i] Ok ehmm, just a little something else. What, do you feel free in Holland? That’s a question anyway.
[r] Yeah, yeah.
[i] Ok, and can you tell us anything about freedom or what you’re experiencing?
[r] Yeah, do you feel free in Holland, I do feel pretty free in Holland. I have ehh, for that matter I am a real Dutchman because, I have like my sister, who was born and raised in Amsterdam but at one point she had the feeling that she will not live and work here. You’ve always had the itch to go abroad and I don’t have that at all, I’m a real Dutchman in that respect I’m really good here, I always say when I leave here it’s to Eritrea but I really don’t have to leave here I, I’m completely grounded and settled and eh, yes of course you have your rights and obligations as a Dutchman you have to comply with and as long as you do that then you have all the benefit of it.
[i] Ok, and do you have certain fears and what kind of fears do you have for example?
Yes, what fears do I have ehmm, not so much for myself but I think ehh, more for my children. If you have children then you still get fears and then I sometimes think, yes, my daughter who is 10 now and how did it go with me when I was 10. When I see how far away children are nowadays compared to how far we were at that age those are fears I have. It is going to high school and what is going on, in my time this and that, you knew that, but in this time what is going on, those are fears that I have.
[i] Ok, and ummmmm, by the way, we talked about the family you grew up in at the very beginning, only we didn’t talk about, your dad worked in the Navy, you said…
[r] Yeah, um, what exactly did he do?
[r] Ehmm, yes, in an engine room something technical I can’t go into too much detail, but he’s always been technical, when he came to Holland he worked in the Navy indeed. Well at a certain moment it was about when he had to apply for asylum here he had to look for something else. He worked as a car mechanic for a while and that’s what he did for 2 or 3 years and after that he started working for KLM again, also technically that’s what he always did in the engine, under the engine and on the engine, so he was always technical and working with engines.
[i] Ok and ehmm your mother?
[r] My mother who has had several jobs now I don’t really know exactly what to name. I know, she worked at the municipality for a while with archiving and stuff like that. But she’s always worked, but she’s always done different things.
And what does she do these days?
[r] Yeah, she works in home care these days.
[i] Yeah.
[r] and besides that she has a foundation together with a friend, there they mainly help Eritrean women but also together with other immigrant women they try to integrate the ehhh, foreign women more in the Netherlands say they can participate more actively in society and help out there where they need help, they are looking for an education, a course, information about it can be anything ehh, school, education of children everywhere they need help they try to bring that kind of women in contact with agencies that can help them or help themselves.
[i] Um, is that something, do you participate or do you ever go to that meeting?
[r] Yeah, I go when I can, when I have a hole. I try to help as much as I can and go along with it.
[i] Okay, and is it something that attracts you? You say emancipating women
[r] Yes it attracts me, it attracts me but I’m not as active in that as I would like because I have my limitations here anyway and I also think partly because of the distance, she’s in Amsterdam and I’m in Uithoorn so ehhh, that what I can do I try to help if, for example, I can do a lot of things for them on the computer from home and, and, one of those things I do but really be there, yes, not as much as I would like.
[i] Ok, and how do you actually think it’s, um, I guess it’s Eritrean women who help your mom?
[r] Yeah.
[i] How do you think the Eritrean community is doing in Holland anyway? What is your idea or specifically women in this case?
[r] Yes, you are now mainly dealing with women who want to, so you are proud of that and then you are really willing to step up a step and give them just that little push they need. But what I really see is ehhh, what maybe 10 years ago was not so strong that the women had something like this we are here and eventually we go back to Eritrea so why do I have to learn to swim for example, why do I have to do a computer course, while now those women have a bit of the insight of well I don’t know if I will go back and when I go back I don’t know when I will go back so let me tackle this and try to make the best of it so you see yes, swimming lessons, yes, I mean I didn’t think that so many women would be interested and eager to really get a swimming diploma but they do the same for computer courses and meetings of FNV association and various information afternoons that I think of, ‘well, I like to see that they want to know what’s going on there’.
[i] Ehmm, except for the activities you already mentioned, your passion and that you help with the foundation every now and then. Are there any other things you think I am actively involved in here or am I still doing this?
[r] Yes, I had ehh, before that [name] came I was also quite active at school and that I actually stopped the first year because of the arrival of [name], but I really want to pick it up again. For example, I was a classmother, I help with computer mornings, I was a library mother and once a week in the library that kind of activities, but also with all kinds of things at school just helping at school, being very involved, ehmm, with what is going on at school I found that very interesting I found that very fun to do so that is also what I would like to pick up again.
[i] And what exactly was it that made you go in there, what did you like?
[r] Well ehh, anyway being busy with children I liked that very much but also to see ehhmm, where your children go, how the education goes, where they know they are most of the day at school and then I find it important to know where they are at school and what happens except that lesson material, of course you follow that but what happens at school, what are there activities and what, what is going on, I just always find that very interesting to know.
[i] Ok and then one more question hey, well you grew up in Amsterdam and now you live in Uithoorn. What does Amsterdam mean to you and also Uithoorn actually, both, what do those cities mean? I can call Uithoorn a city, I suppose?
Yeah, yeah, by now, uh,
[i] What do those towns mean to you?
[r] Yes, ehh, well actually a lot, Amsterdam because I still see myself as an Amsterdammer that is really my city, ehh, and Uithoorn is my village as well, because I have lived here for so long and my children were born and grew up here so that will continue to play a big role in my life and I say yes sometimes when the children are grown up I go to Amsterdam but you know that is the wish you have now, you don’t know how that’s gonna go if I, I really won’t be unhappy if I stay in Uithoorn that’s just a wish you have right now, but I’d be fine to stay here, here.
[i] What is something typically Amsterdam you think of in terms of Amsterdam culture or city culture or where you stand up when you think of an Amsterdam for example?
[r] About Amsterdam, ehmm, well what I really like is that very flat Amsterdam really is that from the Jordaan. I just really like that, I can really enjoy that but also those whole folk singers and those songs. I’m a huge fan of André Hazes, seriously I really dare to move forward. Yes, I’m not thanked for that by everyone but that’s one of those things, that’s what I really like about Amsterdam.
[i] Ok, and in terms of, yes, you like the flat, you even say you like the flat, and in terms of really an Amsterdam, yes, really a certain culture that prevails there?
[r] Yeah, the melting pot of all cultures together that’s what I like about Amsterdam, you really see a lot of things and it just goes there, ehh, if you’re Amsterdam, eh, yeah, if you’re Amsterdammer then it doesn’t matter where you come from, you’re just Amsterdammer. I liked that too because my sister who lives in America now and I say ehh yeah what do you like about that? She says in America you’re American, you’re not someone from Eritrea and you’re not someone from Morocco you’re not from Suriname, you’re just American and I have that feeling a little bit in Amsterdam in Amsterdam you’re just an Amsterdammer no matter where you come from.
[i] Ok so you’re not really Dutch but you’re really an Amsterdammer?
[r] An Amsterdammer, yes.
[i] Ehmm and finally, you’ve told a little bit about yourself, the activities you do and so on. So what do you think of yourself, for example, giving or contributing to the city? So I just said what does the city mean to you, but what do you mean to the city?
What do you mean to the city, yes, yes, for Amsterdam I don’t think so much anymore but in Uithoorn, um, I think it’s important to do a lot of voluntary things, for example in February I’m going to collect for the brain foundation. That kind of things are always important for me to do, you know it doesn’t take much effort, but you do do a lot in return then I think, yes, you live here in Uithoorn you have a great time so then you can also do something in return for the community so that kind of things or at the homes for the elderly help a morning. coffee or, um, you know that kind of things I always find that very important to do.
[i] Do you do that regularly or eh?
[r] Yeah.
[i] Ok, so the collection and the old people’s homes do you do too?
[r] Yeah, I’m going to pick up the collection regularly now, and well, at school. With those children apart from the fact that I like it very much myself, but it is still a bit of helping at school because they just need a lot of parents who help with various activities, it is also a bit of helping back, ehh, for the municipality.
[i] Ok, and what’s in it, hey in Amsterdam you really have a certain culture and city feeling. What is there in Uithoorn that you think this is really something typical, eh, in Uithoorn or?
[r] Yes, that cozy thing I said you have that very typical village of Uithoornaren you have, but you also have people who come from the city to Uithoorn so you still have that whole city feeling. It’s not very cramped village-like, but it’s also not the very busy and cluttered of the city, I can find it in both of them.
[i] Ok, ummm, I think I’ve had all my questions, but maybe you have something you want to tell me or you think I’ve forgotten?
Jeez, no, I’ve told you so much. I think it’s all over.
Well, if you don’t have any more questions, I’d like to thank you very much for your time.
[r] Yes, you’re welcome, it was fun.
[i] Thank you.

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