I live in a shelter for unaccompanied minors, along with other people my age from different countries: Pakistan, Iran, Somalia and Bangladesh. Overall, we are eighteen people in a four-storey building. On the top floor, there is a room for study and entertainment, with desks, computers, a library and a TV.
Opposite the shelter, there is a small park, where I often go and sit, as it helps me relax. I also like to observe the passers-by. On one side of the park, people come and play basketball or walk their dog. I avoid the other side, since some weird people hang out there.
When I am in the shelter, I like playing the guitar. I have a music teacher, Konstantinos, who has given me his guitar to practice. There are other teachers too, who help us study for school and learn the language1. They are all very nice. But I prefer to play music and to sing. My whole family, from both sides, has been playing music. My mom is a professional musician and dancer. This is how I first learnt music, watching my parents play. Back in Iran, because of the problems there, I could not attend regular lessons at a Conservatory. But here, thanks to Kontantinos, I can. Music is my life, it makes me stronger. As batteries are charged with electricity, I get energy from music. My dream for my future is to become a singer.
I prefer not to talk about my childhood, before coming to Greece. My country, Iran, like Greece, has an ancient civilization with many myths and heroes. Also, the people and atmosphere in Iran, as an aura and feel, are much like the people and atmosphere in Greece. This is why I want to stay in this country; I feel good here and I got to know people who have helped me immensely, unlike in Iran.
Thanks to the Museum2 programme, where not only kids my age but also adults participated, I had the chance for the first time to take part in discussions on various topics such as the position of women in society. I haven’t studied any religious books to know what they say about the role of women in society, but my own view is that there is no difference between men and women. I treat girls as my friends. I think they must be free and live in freedom. They have the same share in life and in the world as men. Women are beautiful creatures, I love them. When I get married, I will live with my wife as I would with a friend. And I’ll do all the housework. I know how to do everything, to clean, to cook, to take care of the children. As I used to help my mother with the housework, I will do so with my wife.
I agree with the gentleman in our group who said that for a nation to thrive, both men and women need to be given incentives. We, in Iran have a problem with the regime, but fortunately, we are not at war. But I’d rather we had satellite television, too.
ΑFrom the projects we saw at the Museum, what I didn’t like was Sails, by Bia Davou. It confused me and upset me. Different colours and different directions of sails reminded me of the reality in my country today. Sails are like the different groups in Iran, who, because of their differences are in constant conflict.
Other projects created more pleasant feelings, such as the work of Alexandros Georgiou3. At the beginning, I didn’t get that it was a temple, the Parthenon. I thought I saw something like the sun or a sunbeam emerging out of darkness. The Swedish Flying Carpet, by Kostis Velonis, reminded me of the carpets made in Iran and exported to different countries. In Turkey there is a factory that makes carpets like these and exports them to other countries. Most of the workers there are Iranians. These carpets have motifs from nature, flowers and various plants. When you sit on them, you feel calm and peaceful.
The nature motifs brought Nowruz to mind, which we celebrate back in Iran. On the first day of spring, March 21, we celebrate the change of year. Nowruz is a feast for the coming of the New Year. “Zainab4, do you in Afghanistan have the same feast?” During Nowruz, we celebrate the New Year for 13 days, as follows: the whole family goes out to the countryside and spends time out in the open air. Some families set their tents up outside and spend the nights there and it’s beautiful. Last year I didn’t celebrate Nowruz. I promise you, though, that when I get a residence permit, I’ll take you all to Iran, set up a tent out in nature and celebrate.
1 Refers to the Greek Language courses, as a Second/ Other Language.
2 Refers to the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens.
3 Refers to Athens, Parthenon, 2007-2008.
4 Zainab, who is 16 years old and from Afghanistan, was also a participant in the programme.