English

LIFE GOES ON

The whole world knows the story about Noora Dodevska, who met her love on the Macedonian-Serbian border, when she was a refugee from Iraq and he was a policeman. This way of love started very fast and everyone would like to follow that story. After almost two years Nora’s life changed for 360 degrees. Past situations almost stay in the past.

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REFUGEE’S STORIES

At the beginning I was a part of Red Cross and helped other refugees. Actually it was a very big change in my life when I started seeing the refugees and how they are. There are a lot of problems with finding people to be a translator in all the languages. I was there for 6 months. It made me so happy because I saw the smiles of the people. Most rewarding job I have ever done. In this time I’m still working at Tabanovce camp refugee in the border of Macedonia and Serbia. But I held back work at one point because I got pregnant. When I had more time I called them to say that I would like to get back to work. So they told me I can start with the ministry of refugee and I’m still a translator there. It was easy to find a job here in Macedonia for me, because I know lot’s of languages. My work is patient and really hard. Refugees come here and change their minds about staying in Macedonia. Sometimes they get in trouble but because people are being treated nicely they want to stay. 99% want go to a big city. Most want to go to Austria and Sweden. 1% wants to stay in Macedonia. I ask myself questions every time: “Can all of them go to Europe? Who can go to EU? And who can not?”. Because a lot of people run from really bad situations. And these are the people who can stay in another country. But people who come just for economic reasons do not get to stay. Some people come to the camp and escape randomly from the refugee camp. I’m not border guard. I just give them information about legal stuff. Last time we had a family in Serbia and they had trouble with authority. I had one shock situation in Camp. In 2016 I came to Greece as a refugee. My refugee way started from Iraq, when I moved to Turkey, for getting to Greece. In our boat was way too many people and everyone was afraid. And just when we get there everything turned to normal. But in Greece I saw everything. We traveled in a legal way because our city had bad situations going on. After Greece she went to 15 000 refugees in a camp of (name). And then I got noticed because I’m blonde (for my looks) and that I can speak lot’s of languages. So I started to volunteer in the camp. Because of my language skills I was asked to help out. A lot of people asked for help. I translated for over 10000 people in Greece. In Macedonia I translated for over 2000 people. I was 19 years old when it started. I didn’t ever study translating. All the languages I can speak are: Afghani, Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Moroccan, English also a bit of Korean and Macedonian. A big part of these languages I learned on the internet or on television. “A volunteer is worth twenty pressed men” – I can say it’s about me and other people, who try to help people in needed. We help people from our hearts.

WE ALL ARE HUMANS

First when they look at me with a big smile in their face. Sometimes they even want to take pictures with me. They say: “Look at her! She is the girl in TV all the time”. They like me a lot. I didn’t ever meet people who were rude to me. All people were tolerant and friendly. I take people as they are. They tell me I give them good energy. I like my city Kumanovo.  I found a lot of friends here. And we sometimes hang out and go to parties or a coffee shop, a walk etc. I have very good company. Sometimes I feel in Macedonia like, how did I get here. My friends tell me that I am smart and strong, and for this I can adapt all around the world. I didn’t travel around Balkans, because now I have a son and his name is Ilja. I made a decision to give him a between muslim and christian name. Many countries have this name so because of that I find it so beautiful. It’s connected with many religions and countries. My son as an angel. He has just 6 months, but he is so smart and so cute. Because of my child I do not want to travel as much this year. When someone asks “What did I expect from my son?”. I answer “he can do whatever he wants to do”. But I hope my child will be a volunteering too one day and be open-minded. My big dream is to have my own organization one day and in Iraq I would have the main office. I want to help a lot of people all around the world. There is a big translation issue in refugee camps. For example when people have medical issues and doctors do not understand the refugees. I had one time a really scary story, when one refugee got to the medical tent in a camp and the doctor gave to him incorrect medicine with some wrong components and patients can die after using it. But luckily I was at the same time in the same place. I called the police and later this doctor who doesn’t respect refugees’ lives was fired. I think we made the correct decision, because all people lives, doesn’t matter from which social type he has, has a right for good medical help. I stay with my idea: “We all are humans, doesn’t mutter which skin color or religion do you have. Sometimes we need some help and every person’s life is important.

FAMILY AND COUNTRIES

I would like to visit my cousins and old friends in Iraq. I do miss my country a lot. I miss the food that Grandma made. I very much enjoy cooking with family and cousins. I worked in a store and also I’m a professional makeup artist and also haircolorist. I learned it from Youtube videos. Makeup takes me only few hours to do.  I was 18 years old when I started working. I lived with my granny. Sometimes I miss it but I am very happy with my job now in Kumanovo. Because I really like to work with children and help people. Operation Iraqi freedom is going on. I hope to go one day back with my family. Right now my family lives in Germany. My brother and sister speak 5 languages. They took German citizenship. If I go to Germany I could take a German citizenship.My mom is 41 and my dad 48, brother 12 and sister 8. My brother and sister learn the languages really fast. They even learned the Macedonian language, kind of even better at it than me. I saw how they are played with some local children in refugee camp and try to have some conversation with them. I’m so proud of my brother, who helps other refugees by translating to English something from Arabic and Kurdish. He helped a few people too. Our parents have taught us how to interact with people and how to be nice to other people. My dad always has the biggest smile on his face and he always shares with others and same goes with my mother. If he will have 1 euro in his pocket, and others don’t have anything, my father will share this small money with others. This is credo of his life. We have a few main rules: do not judge people by their looks and religion. Be an open-minded person. Help others and think about the heart of the person, and not about their looks. We have all been born in this world the same and we will all die one day. We only humans. We are the same… God is only one!

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ADAPTATION AND ASSIMILATION

Actually when I got here I thought about the refugees just like everybody else (borders should be closed etc.) After two days in Macedonia everything changed in my life. When I got here I thought maybe it’s going to be scary if I stay here, I don’t know anybody here. But after I saw the refugee camp and that they are good people my opinion on refugees changed. They told me if I stay here they would have a lot of work for me and I decided to ask for allowance to stay ( the life in here is very simple). They never made me feel like a refugee when I was here. After 2 years I felt like a local. I think the Macedonian language was pretty hard from the beginning. I learnt it in my home and I actually I started talking with local people because it’s better to learn this way. From the beginning I tried to explain to all refugees about the difference between European Union and muslim countries. I say about democratic mind and diversity of cultures in every member of this union. When we are going to another country as a refugee, we should respect all religion, law and cultural sensitivities. A big part of the people understand that things, but if some of them are not respectful of basic rules and have no real reason for being a refugee, they don’t have much chance for getting to EU.  In a place of residence we should learn local languages, society psychology, culture of the nation and the Constitution. When you are going to Europe you should know – European people don’t push their culture to our countries, and we don’t need to push our culture on their territory. This is the main point to strike a balance between refugee and EU. I love all people and try to give this vibe to others.

Ann Aro

Aisen Bragin

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