“As soon as I came here, the coronavirus appeared too. Then I said to myself that I had to do something about it, or I would lose my mind. So I decided to offer free English language lessons to the refugees that are trapped here”
“When they bombarded my home, five people were killed and I was treated at the hospital of Ntara for two months. When I saw I had lost both my legs, I decided to continue my life with even greater passion and strength than before.”
Naji Albader met Baraa six months ago at Kos refugee camp. They got married there. They dream of continuing their journey to England after the end of the pandemic.
“Will you get me a bag? And pencils to go to school!”
Panagiota doesn’t know exactly how old she is. She says she is five or maybe six. Moreover, she has never gone to school. She lives in the Roma slums of Nea Zoi in Aspropirgos with her deaf grandmother. She plays barefoot in the muddy waters and the rubbish of the slum and dreams that, some day, someone will give her a bag and pencils so that she can go to school too.
“Nobody ever comes here. Now, with the coronavirus, we will die like flies, forgotten. It is our fate to live next to the landfill and in the trash”
Angeliki Papadimitriou is 59 y.o., diabetic. She lives with her husband and her great-grandchildren in the Roma slums of Nea Zoi in Aspropirgos. Because of the lockdown, no one can go to work and face a serious problem of survival.
“What are we going to do now that we can't go around for scrap? Where are we going to get food from? I don’t know why we stay in and what this disease is all about. Nobody has come here to help us. Nobody has told us anything. All we know is what we hear on TV. We are scared”
Panagiotis Tsiriklos was born in 1943 in Theva. About 15 years ago, he came to Nea Zoi in Aspropirgos, thinking that the capital would offer more opportunities for himself and his ten children. He was wrong.
“We try to do what they tell us to on the telly. We try to be clean. But what can you do? Look down, the shack has no cement. So what if we wash ourselves? A moment later we are covered in dirt again”
Maria Dionysopoulou has two children and lives in a shack made of concrete blocks, wooden beams and polyester sheets in Nea Zoi of Aspropirgos. Every night, she heats water on the camping stove, moves a tub in the middle of the shack and bathes her children.
“I am a diabetic and I’m scared I may get this damned disease. What do we eat everyday? Just bread.”
In the last month, twice a week, Mpampis Mpekos wakes up at 3 in the morning. He wears his cloth mask and gets in the car, heading for the centre of Athens. There, a baker gives him the bread that was not sold in the previous days.
“If he gets the disease, what am I going to do with him? How am I to take him to the hospital? No ambulance or doctor ever gets to Nea Zoi”
Georgia Halilopoulou, 88 y.o. today, came from Thiva to Nea Zoi in Aspropirgos, with the hope of a better life. She is not so much worried about herself, as she is for her son who had been suffering from asthma attacks over the last year.