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8 Appendix 3 – Interview with the respondent Ibrahim………………………………………………14 Appendix 4 – Interview with the respondent Jens…………………………………………………..21 Appendix 5 – Interview with the respondent Malik………………………………………………..26 Appendix 6 – Visit in Avnstrup asylum centre……………………………………………………..32 Appendix 7 – The first experience at Avnstrup asylum centre…………………………………….35 Appendix 8 – Field notes Avnstrup asylum centre…………………………………………………38 Appendix 9 – Avnstrup asylum centre…………………………………………………………….41 Appendix 10 – Bus plan for the bus 215: Avnstrup – Viby Sjælland & Viby Sjælland – Avnstrup.43 Appendix 11 – The interview guide for the residents……………………………………………..45 Appendix 12 – The interview guide for the staff………………………………………………….48 Appendix 13 – Plan of Avnstrup asylum centre…………………………………………………..49
Appendix 1 Respondent Abdullah, from a restless African country, interviewers: Sini and Laura
Sini: "First I would like to ask personal details of you. How old are you?" Abdullah: "I'm 31." Sini: "and...How long have you stayed in Denmark?" Abdullah: "One year and two months." Sini: “and how about in Avnstrup?" Abdullah: "Not so different from other camps, the same. For me, think other better than here” Laura: "How long did you stay here?" Abdullah: "4 months" Sini:" and...Are you married?" Abdullah: "Yes." Sini: "and, umm...do you have children?" Abdullah: "Yea, I have one son." Sini: "How old is he?" Abdullah: "3 years now" Sini: "In which state is your asylum process? Are you waiting or have you gotten any answer?" Abdullah: "I get negative, second negative; I get it maybe one month ago.” Sini: "and then I would like you to describe your life in Avnstrup." Abdullah: "I will describe the life in Avnstrup?" Sini: "Yea, in your own words" Abdullah: "I tell you, it's not more different from other camps. More is trickier, people look like... have seen many criminal or doing something bad, something. I'm sad about that. Sometime I think why the people doing this, because of they have something psychology or something like this or he get negative also and become mad and sad and start to broke everything. I can not speak with them well. Other camps also you can find people like this but almost like this camp is, you know," Sini: "What about, what is you typical day like, here in Avnstrup? What did you do yesterday, for example?" Abdullah: "I'm going to school. If I'm not going to school, just I stay. I never get out. You know I don't like to move. I just stay in my room or go down to reception if I need something or if I'm looking for somebody I don't find I go down to look for him."
Sini: "yeah" Abdullah: "Or just like sit, laptop, internet, just internet, nothing to do" Sini: "Do you have any common activities here at the centre?" Abdullah: "Yea, I actually translate at the Trampoline house, I have two days there. After school I will go there. Do and when I'm done I come back." Sini: "How about here in the centre..?" Abdullah: "I don‟t have any praktik, or any service or something like this activities at the centre." Sini: "Yeah, Do you have some kind of a schedule here, or are there some things you have to do here around the centre?" Abdullah: "Nothing to do here. I don't have anything, also I don't want or I don't like do anything here. Everything boring. I don't like to do anything" Sini: "Ummm… ummm... Would you like to describe the relationships you have here with other residents?" Abdullah: "Yeah, Almost in outer world I have many friends, Um then I leave them when I transfer from there to here. I look like I almost forget them, then I have to looking new people here and start to make with them friend, something like this. But actually so bad, so difficult also and hard. You know, move you in other camp. Have to start in beginning looking for new people. You know how they are like, or how do they speak with you, so bad. But it's okay, what can you do?" Sini: "Yeah. How about what are your relations like to the Red Cross workers here?" Abdullah: "Umm, I don't have with them contact, you know. More, you know, just if I have something I have to go down (to the reception), But I see them, it's okay, like any centre, they do their job. Sini: "For example what kind of help can you ask them for if you need something?" Abdullah: "Yeah, sometime clinic and if you need something for... actually some people, they need to work also, praktik from outside the centre. You have to also go this Red Cross and... reply and then agree. Something like this. And also many people work here inside the camp here in the centre. Also you have to go talk with them, show which time you have to work and make a contract with you, something like this. Sini: "Yeah, How about the reception? Do you have contact with them, or?" Abdullah: “Yeah, actually reception. There if you get some papers and some post or some letters, something like this. Actually many people here, they don't speak Danish so they have to go to them and ask them what happened in the letter and told you what is going on. Something like this.”
Sini: "How do you feel like having, like, the police office here at the centre?" Abdullah: “It‟s police, it's....The police, yes I hate it there is one office here for police but I never been there, I never see them. I don't know... there is some people here in the centre, they signing something every week, something like this they have to sign, showing that they are here. For these people, they have to sign. I handle... I've never seen this. But now, I don't think so, i also have to go for these people also because I get third negative and police ask me, Sandholm police ask me, have to sign this and to go back but I can not go back. I have a problem. Then I never sign when I come here, I don't know when they call me again. I have to sign like these people. Every week I have to sign.” Sini: “Do you have like different groupings here within the inhabitants here in the centre?” Abdullah: “Group, like for activities?” Sini: “Is it, like, that mostly people from the same country spend time together, or?” Abdullah: “Yes, we have, we are here from my country, like 11 person. And then almost all week we can not see us so much, but for example from Friday „til Sunday we spend all time maybe together. We eat together; we play cards and something like this. We spend like one hour in other apartment in the street, we going there and play.” Sini: “Besides playing with your friends, do you have any other hobbies or interests here?” Abdullah: “There are, you know, I can not say they are interesting, but this is the way, you know, we spend time. If you come here only sleep, something like this, you have to you know be with them and use your time” Sini: “Um, What are your possibilities to be alone, like, if you need privacy?” Abdullah: “Be alone here?” Sini: “Um, Yeah” Abdullah: “When to be alone, it's also too hard. If you be alone, also more better, you know, many thing you can do, you know. If you have room alone you are free in your room. Now we are four here, something like this, you know, many things, you know some people, they don‟t agree. This light if you sleep it's on and you want to do something with light, you know, it's terrible this. It is okay, what can you do? We can manage.” Sini: “How much do you go outside the centre?” Abdullah: “Outside?” Sini: “Yeah” Laura: “To Copenhagen, Viby Sjælland?”
Abdullah: “How I go from here?” Sini: “How often? Or do you go? To the trampoline house or something else?” Abdullah: “Four times a week we have the school in Copenhagen, all day we go, except you know today, yesterday , Saturday, Sunday these three day I can not go but I have, if I don't have school also I go to this Trampoline house praktik, I have to go outside. Four days the week I have to go, four days.” Sini: “Do you sometimes stay in Copenhagen after praktik - after internship or school or do you go back here?” Abdullah: “Sometime we stay there after school, maybe three hour more and then we come.” Laura: “What do you do, then if you stay in Copenhagen?” Abdullah: “If we have to make shopping we have to stay maybe two hours, something like this. If we go to this trampoline house also we have to stay almost. Friday there is a small party, something like this and maybe 11. We have to stay till 9 and then we can take the bus and come here.” Sini: “What did you know about Denmark before you came here?” Abdullah: “Before I don't know anything about Denmark. But only one movie I saw before, maybe 2005, something like this. Movie for Denmark king, he went to America and he met one girl there and the girl love this...the king and come with him together here and maybe in the end of film maybe they get married also, this girl, something like this. I know that Denmark with king that time before I didn‟t know Denmark a lot of.” Sini: “So what do you think of Denmark now that you have arrived here and stayed here for a while?” Abdullah: “Now many things we hear about all European especially in Denmark, when things when we come in Denmark they are different. More, you know, system, you know, there is more control many things not like other country. You can look like French, British but not like this.” Sini: “What kind of control for example?” Abdullah: “Control for asylum. You know, it's okay asylum we can give you a house and live and take care about you, everything but where to eat, get your paper, you know. No more...Too difficult here, you know. Especially Denmark, too difficult.” Sini: “Why do you think that's difficult? Do you think it's the government or something else?” Abdullah: “And is, I don‟t know but any country have rule to follow. Maybe in my home country we have rule like this, I don't know.” Sini: “Do you feel like some decisions are made for you or can you affect your own situation?”
Abdullah: “No, if I say by my self, my personality, my situation many people also the same like me. I don't know. I can not understand all situation, asylum here, you know. Too difficult.” Sini: “If you could change the Avnstrup centre, how would you or what would you change?” Abdullah: “If I came to this centre I want to go to other centre. I have to reply for this centre I have to go this other camp sometime. And then I have good reason. And then my reason I have to leave this centre. If I don't tell him my reason, also if I tell him reason, if he you have to make for immigration, this guy going to leave the centre or move from centre to other centre. And them immigration decide. For immigration this guy want to leave the centre of move to other centre. The immigration decides but this takes two months, almost.” Sini: “Yeah, would you like to change the centre?” Abdullah: “Right now I don‟t, I don't want to change. If they tell me I have to go, I don‟t like to go. I tell you if you change you have to start from new. More from the zero, I don‟t like. Right now it is okay. I have many friends here, look like them right now.” Sini: “What would make you more happy to stay here in the centre?” Abdullah: “Yes, friends with from my home country here, yeah, and if sometime we talk with them, I tell you also, we can spend our time this weekend together. I say, only this.” Sini: “Do you think you have changed as a person after coming to Denmark?” Abdullah: “My personality?” Sini: “Yes” Abdullah: “Not so much but if something happen in your self you have to see something in your mind, you know and when you come here you also have to follow this rule, many things you have to follow. In Africa we don‟t have this rule, all this rule many people, they are problem. When many people come here they look surprised, for me, I‟m not surprised because I know, I read about Europe a lot. I know they have many rules, strict…But not different, not changed a lot. Many people they are surprised. Me too surprised, but not by rule, by other things surprised, you know. The people talk about Europe, Europe, Europe when we come to Europe, we see Europe by our eyes. Not like this talking.” Sini: “What surprised you the most?” Abdullah: “Maybe when they say that when you go to Europe, everything is completely okay and your life it is good. But when we are coming…no, not like this you have to study, you have to do many things and then you can re-build your life.”
Sini: “What would you do if you got the permission to stay here in Denmark? What would be your plans?” Abdullah: “I have to continue this language, and if I can try to bring my paper from my home country, I want to continue my study also. If can‟t, I‟m sure I can not get my paper from my home country, but if I get it I have to try to continue study.” Sini: “What would be a difference between you and a person working here?” Abdullah: “Red Cross they are citizen and I am asylum. The system, if they look about you if you are good or if you are bad or them asylum this is too hard, you know. Many people here is very nice people, very good. Some of them, okay, they are criminal , but you, all of them call about you an asylum applicant. Citizen like this, asylum like this. So bad.” Sini: “Do you feel like you are treated as a person?” Abdullah: “No, not a person, by all you know he look like this like person. If he has a person he have something call resist. They can not like make friend. Something like bad behaviour. You can feel it you can not see, you can not hear about that things, but if you are smart you can feel, many people look and can see these things.” Laura: “What would you think would be the good life?” Abdullah: “Good life… good life when you get the paper and be with these people together and go outside. If you study, you study, if you work, you work. It‟s good. But now you could do like this, so bad. Every day when you sleep and wake up, you will be trouble in your mind. Many people when they come first time they are good but now if you look at them, if you see them like going to be criminal, going to be, you know like, psychology disease they have in their mind, you cannot talk to them. Very bad this.”
Appendix 2 First interview with Ahmed Ranaa: “For how long have you been in Denmark?” Ahmed: “For almost 3 months.” Ranaa: “For how long have you lived in Avnstrup?” Ahmed: “2½ months.” Ranaa: “Married or not married?” Ahmed: “No, I am single (and then he laughs) but insAllah (if God wants) soon, my mom just called me today and said, “Come on my son, get married soon” “ Ranaa: “laugh, any kids?” Ahmed: “No no.” Ranaa: “Have you got any answer or are you still in the process?” Ahmed: “No, I am still waiting.” Ranaa: “First I would like to ask you some very simple questions, how the life is here in Avnstrup and I don‟t really have any questions about how you came to Denmark and why. And of course we will not use your real name, country or anything about your background such as education. But we might write down that you are from the Middle East.” Ahmed: “Okay, good. You can drink coffee if you want?” Ranaa: “Thank you.” Sini: “Thank you.” Ranaa: “There is hot water there Sini.” Ranaa: “First I would like to ask you what you did yesterday; did you go anywhere? Ahmed: “I woke up early, I drank coffee I always do that in the morning. And then I sat on my laptop and started to read news from the Middle East and then I also checked my email, and saw which emails I have got. Later I talked to my friends on facebook. Then the time became almost 2 ó clock and then I went to the trampoline house at 3 ó clock. I arrived to the trampoline house at 5 ó clock. You have to leave at 3 ó clock and then you arrive almost 17.15. At the trampoline house I made some plans for the dinner Friday night. We planed that Friday at 12 ó clock we will go to Nørrebro and buy stuff from the Arabic store as chicken, rice and will cook for us on Friday. And I was home again at 21.05. Then I ate some food and then I searched at the Internet. Most of my time here I spend it on the Internet.” Ranaa: “Who told you about the trampoline house?” Ahmed: “My friend here in Avnstrup told me about the place. He told me that there were a very kind staff there and social events. So I went there around 21 days ago and the people were very kind and then I offered them to make some Arabic classes were I teach in Arabic.” Ranaa: “So now you teach Arabic?” Ahmed: “Yes, every Sunday from 17.00 till 19.00.” Ranaa: “Okay, what do you think when you tell me what you leave at 15 and arrive at 17?” Ahmed: “That it‟s very far from everything. Avnstrup is an isolated place. Ehm... the centre is far from everything. There are no houses around us or any normal life and that affects us.” Ranaa: “If you could decide where the centre should be placed, where would you place it?” Ahmed: “A place that is near a town, near other buildings so we can integrate us in society. This is isolated, the nearest ehmm...” Ranaa: “What are you doing tomorrow?”
Ahmed: “Tomorrow it‟s Friday so I have to be at the trampoline house at 12 ó clock and start shopping for the dinner for the night. And I am also the coordinator in the house every Friday for dinner.” Ranaa: “When we leave you today what will you do?” Ahmed: “I will go to Copenhagen, to the trampoline house in half an hour, because I have a meeting with another person who teaches and we have to make a plan for the Arabic class. I will leave and arrive at 17 and talk to her, what to teach or not, which papers we have to copy and which programs we give them these 2 hour classes. And I have to be back in the centre at 21.05.” Ranaa: “Why? Is that the last bus?” Ahmed: “Yes, this is the last bus to the centre. I arrive at 21.15 just to be precise. Hahaha, you know how it is.” (Here he smiles and what he really means is that the Danish government cares about the small specific details so that’s why he is detailed and specific with us- he was just joking) Ranaa: “No, it‟s okay.” Ranaa: “If you didn‟t live in a centre and was not depended of the bus and you lived in a bigger city in Denmark for example in Copenhagen. How would you imagine your life was?” Ahmed: “Maybe I would hang out, make an account in the public library; I would look for parties, musical, theatre or literature. Just like normal human activities for your intelligence.” Ranaa: “But can‟t you do all this while you still live in Avnstrup centre?” Ahmed: “No, it‟s very difficult because I have to go to Copenhagen.” Ranaa: “Okay. Do you have any common activists in the centre?” Ahmed: “If you want I can bring you some milk” (to Sini) Sini: “No, it‟s fine I also drink black coffee.” Ahmed: “Haha, just like the Americans in the movie. What do you like? Black, black without anything, without sugar.” Ranaa: “Ehmm… Do they make any common activists in the centre?” Ahmed: “Yes, but I don‟t participate because this kind of activities doesn‟t interest me. They make small parties and have a gym.” Ranaa: “”But you don‟t participate?” Ahmed: “No, it does not interest me much it‟s not my hobby. Sometimes I play ping-pong hahahaha (a little bit shy). But there are activities… there is a gym here, a small one.” Ranaa: “Yes, I think I have seen it before.” Ahmed: “Yes, in the basement floor.” Ranaa: “How is it to live here and the privacy?” Ahmed: “I will be honest with you, the privacy here is zero. I can‟t do what I want to do, because I have other wishes…” Ranaa: “How many people do you share a room with?” Ahmed: “We are 4 persons in this room.” Ranaa: “Do you have a bathroom here?” Ahmed: “No no, the bathroom is outside the room.” Ranaa: “And what about the kitchen?” Ahmed: “And the kitchen we share it and my God not show you the kitchen, haha, often no one cares about the hygiene and they (the other asylum seekers) talk very loud and I get crazy of that when I enter the kitchen so only go there when the time is dead (means then there is no one). And I try to eat without getting any contact to anyone because it‟s very noisy and the hygiene is also not so good, so I try to eat simple sandwiches. Something that is temporary.” (He laughs when he says that the kitchen is dirty, maybe it’s a way of hiding that he is hurt and angry) Ranaa: “Do you have any common rooms? Like a living room?”
Ahmed: “There is one beside the reception, but the computers are also in the living room and that means there are always many people down stairs, so the living room is small and the sound is loud. Someone is watching TV, someone is searching the internet, someone is skyping (the program Skype), so the privacy is hard.” Ranaa: “Are there any programs for you in the centre? For example each Monday there is this and this and each Sunday there is this and this…” Ahmed: “In the kitchen we don‟t have any rules, everyone gets money each second week and shop food for himself, if you cook at 2 or 3 ó clock it is as you like.” Ranaa: “Where do you buy your stuff from?” Ahmed: “Honest buying stuff (food) is another problem here because we have to go to Viby everytime. Or is its called Fiby?” Ranaa: “No, it‟s Viby” Ahmed: “Ehmm... and it takes 30 minutes.” Ranaa: “Okay, from where do you buy our stuff? Rema 1000?” (I saw it beside the station before I arrived to the centre) Ahmed: “No no, in Rema. For me it‟s not a problem shopping from Rema, but some of the other people buy their food from Nørrebro, because that‟s the Arabic area. But for me it doesn‟t matter... So it‟s 30 minutes away from here.” Ranaa: “How do you wash your clothes?” Ahmed: “From 6.00 till 24.00 it‟s open in the washing room and now we just got chip cards and we pay each 5 kroner for one wash.” Ranaa: “I will hurry up, because I can see you have to leave soon.” Ahmed: “Ehm... okay fine...“ Ranaa: “What about your daily needs like toilet paper and so on? Do you buy them?” Ahmed: “Wallah, I buy them right now but I heard that there is some here in the centre that we might can have if we can‟t to. But as you can see here (and then he shows me the toilet papers he has in his room), I have bought this paper. I don‟t have energy to go and search for paper in the centre, especially because it is so cheap. To be specific with you I am not sure if we get papers from the staff here or not. But I imagine it is free, I think if I asked for some they would probably give me.” Ranaa: “Do you know anyone of the Red Cross workers here? And how is your relationship to them?” Ahmed: “Yes, I know them... eehhmmm... I work as a counsellor in the centre. Ehmm... it is kind of representative between the asylum seekers and the management. But of course I talk and talk, but we never know if they help you in the end (he says ehm.. it doesn’t seem like he is too sure and he looked nervous)” Ranaa: “Haha. So your relationship to them is good?” Ahmed: “Yes, very good.” Ranaa: “What about your relationship to the office?” Ahmed: “The office... ehhmm... ehm… ehmmm... the office… I don‟t really know what to tell you. Sometimes they seem to be mad but that‟s just sometimes.” Ranaa: “Who is sitting in the office?” Ahmed: “There are two persons, but I don‟t know them.” Ranaa: “And the reception?” Ahmed: “I don‟t have any contact to the reception because I try to handle everything by myself.” Ranaa: “but if you need help are they available?” Ahmed: “Yes, they are; the office is open very day from 8 till 16.00.” Ranaa: “You seemed to be a little bit unsure when I asked you about the reception?”
Ahmed: “No not really, the reception is open 24 hours a day. It‟s just because they are not always kind. But there is a problem with the language.” Ranaa: “Do you mean the communication?” Ahmed: “Yes, the staff who is sitting in the reception is...” Break because the last interview person came in and said hello. After 1 minute he left again. Ranaa: “Actually we have a small gift for you as a thank you for your help but Laura is coming later with it but I know you will leave soon so we will put it your room.” Ahmed: “Don‟t worry. Hehe.” Ranaa: “It‟s just something small and we will give it to Abu Ali.” (his roommate) Ahmed: “Thank you very much.” Ranaa: “You‟re welcome.” Ranaa: “I saw there was a police station here.” Ahmed: “I don‟t have any kind of relation to the police here.” Ranaa: “How do you feel about the police?” Ahmed: “I still have a problem with being scared of the police, if I see a police car I start to get afraid. I my home country when I saw a police car I start to get feeling of being afraid.” Ranaa: “Even here in the centre? Even if you know everything here is safe and you are safe?” Ahmed: “Yes, I still have these feelings, when I see the police.” Ranaa: “Who are your friends in the centre?” Ahmed: “Wallah, I have a specific kind of friends and I don‟t have many friends. I have my friends in the room.” Ranaa: “Are they your friends, because you live with them?” Ahmed: “Yes, I am forced to be friends with them, because they are my roommates and then I have 3 other friends outside of my room, one of them is Ibrahim and actually his brother works for BBC in Arabic.” Ranaa: “Nice, one of my family members also has a program for al quds channel.” Ahmed: “Yes, yes… I know this family.” Ranaa: “Ibrahim told me about his brother before” Ahmed: “Yes, he comes from a good family and he is educated, beside that I have Adam.” Ranaa: “Hmm... I don‟t know him” Ahmed: “Yes yes, he is the Christian person who told you to ask me about the society in my home country.” Ranaa: “Ohh him... Yes, I know how it is.” Ahmed: “He likes to talk a lot, but we share a lot of the same interests, because we lived in the same area back home.” Ranaa: “You told me that you like musicals and so on. But what did you know about Denmark before you came here?” Ahmed: “That it‟s one of the Scandinavian countries and that the human right are very high and there is no corruption and the level of the university is very high, especially the university of Copenhagen. If you know what I mean? Ehmm And that they care a lot about raising children, they care about the children a lot. I heard that Denmark cares about the children from a psychological and physical view at the university back home and I also know it‟s a country that cares for the environment and they spoil the cow and then it becomes “den leende ko”. Haha and I also knew that 85 % of the populations are Christians. But most of them are not religious and don‟t believe in any God.” Ranaa: “For me it‟s like describing the dream country. Did you feel that when you came to Denmark and saw it with you own eyes?”
Ahmed: “For… ehm… no, compared to the children its true 100 %, compared to the corruption is also true you don‟t see anyone taking money from you to help you and that‟s very nice. Until now everything I have read is true but ehm….. But the style of life is very stressed here, I mean train, comes and goes. And another thing that I did not like is the taxes, they are very high, you need to pay taxes for everything, if you buy anything.” Ranaa: “Aha, I understand. Can you tell me what you know about the government here?” Ahmed: “There is the right and left, you know the ones whose aim is more traditional, capitalism and the party for the workers and the others, who are socialists, care for the different social classes in society. I read something about the party of the population I think it‟s called folkets parti, or I don‟t know... They ruled the government for 8 years and now we have a new government. The new government represents the social democrat parties.” Ranaa: “Who decides if you get positive or negative?” Ahmed: “Immigrations leadership and the police, they work together. But in the end it‟s the minister of justice. That‟s what they told us.” Ranaa: “What do you mean by justice?” Ahmed: “The minister…. Ehm” Ranaa: “So the police and the minister of justice have the last word?” Ahmed: “Yes, they decide.” Ranaa: “Okay, did you change as a person since you came to Denmark? Do you feel any different about yourself than you did in your home country?” Ahmed: “Ehm... Of course, the population here is totally different and the way of life is different.” Ranaa: “But if you explain how your personality changed?” Ahmed: “I didn‟t change. Because of my studies I know how these people think, how their religious belief is and traditions, their mindset and so on.” Ranaa: “If you could change anything in the centre what would you choose?” Ahmed: “I want to change the centre and law so we fallow the same laws like in Sweden and Norway. That we only stay in the asylum centre for one month and then they give 2-3 persons an apartment together and in this apartment they start a new normal life without the idea of putting people in camps and a lot together in one place.” Ranaa: “Do you want to get the opportunity to work?” Ahmed: “no, without working. Just like Sweden, England.” Ranaa: “But in Sweden they are allowed to work?” Ahmed: “Ehm... I think they are.” Ranaa: “But you just want a place to live without working in the start while waiting for the answer?” Ahmed: “Yes, just a house to live in, instead of this isolation. You don‟t know how the feelings are when they put a lot of people together in one place, and people are sad and mad already then they start to shout at each other because their situation makes them become like this.” Ranaa: “Yes yes… very normal.” Ahmed: “So… put the people together for a while but then give them a new place, a house and this idea of centres. Do like Sweden.” Ranaa: “And my last question. What is the difference between your life and a Red Cross worker‟s life?” Ahmed: “Of course the Red Cross workers have a work, a life outside the centre, are a bigger part of society, and are happy. But I? I am just on a waiting list... Maybe yes and maybe no. I must wait. So the difference is that he is a person that is mentally happy.” Ranaa: “What do you need to be mentally happy? What does it demands?”
Ahmed: “The number one is having a job; the other one is having... ehhhm… an aim and hope in your life, before you die. So the most important thing is an aim in life.” Ranaa: “Okay, but do you and a Red Cross worker have the same freedom?” Ahmed: “No, of course not. He has more freedom than I.” Ranaa: “Even when both of you live under the same government, regime and law?” Ahmed: “Yes. Without the papers that I have I don‟t have the right to do anything. Can you imagine that in 3 months I have been asking to go to Danish classes to learn the language?” Ranaa: “Ehm... But are you allowed now? After the interview you had yesterday?” Ahmed: “Yes, finally.” Ranaa: “Who pays?” Ahmed: “The government does. But I have been here for 3 months without learning a single word. But the level at the Red Cross classes is very low, and it‟s not on an academic level. I know people here they have learned for 5 months “hej hvem er du something” so this not on an academic level. The young people under 22 years their level of the class is better but because of my age I could not go to that class. When you are over 22 years old they send you to a Red Cross school and that‟s not academic. Sometimes it takes you 1-2 years to learn Danish and I don‟t have time for that if I want to stay in the country. Do they not have language classes at the university like in my country?” Ranaa: “No, I don‟t think so. I can ask for you.” Ahmed: “Oh okay...” Ranaa: “Asking Sini and she gives him some websites.” Sini: “A place called studie skolen, I can write down the website. It‟s Danish for people with a higher education. And Laura and I work at a place where they offer intense language classes.” Ahmed: “Is it a part of the university?” Sini: “No, it‟s an independent school.” Ahmed: “Do you have anymore questions?” Ranaa: “no and thanks a lot” Ahmed: “Thanks for the help with the translation. I told them that it‟s unfair that they force me to answer something I really don‟t remember. And no one told me when I arrived that I could get a copy of the papers that they made me write. (He was talking about the interview he had yesterday with the immigration service.)
Interview with Ibrahim Ranaa: “Of course, we will not use your name, country or anything else that tells who you really are.” Ibrahim: “Okay good.” Ranaa: “What did you do yesterday?” Ibrahim: “I played with my son.” Ranaa: “Aha... What time did you get up?” Ibrahim: “Do you want the time specific yesterday or just general?” Ranaa: “No, I want you to tell me about your day specific yesterday.” Ibrahim: “I woke up at 12 o clock in the morning and I make breakfast.” Ranaa: “Where did you make the breakfast?” Ibrahim: “In the kitchen. “
Ahmed comes in and says goodbye again before he leaves. Ibrahim stops the interview and goes out to speak alone with Ahmed; they are good friends. I do not know what they spoke about. After 2 minutes Ibrahim comes back and we start over again. While Ibrahim is outside the room talking to Ahmed, another roommate comes and asks me to translate papers for him. The question was if the papers were from a hospital or a clinic. Ibrahim comes back and says: “I cooked alone in the kitchen.” Ranaa: “Alone?” Ibrahim: “Yes, because the kitchen is always filled up with a lot of men so I don‟t allow my wife to go there alone. And I went back and watched TV.” Ranaa: “In your room?” Ibrahim: “Yes.” Ranaa: “Do you have a table?” Ibrahim: “Yes, we have, and then we saw TV... ehhmm... that‟s it... later on, my son heard some kids playing outside, they played football so I went out with him while he was playing with the others, he is still very young so I stay with him while he is playing. When I saw that he was not so
afraid of playing with the other kids I let him stay alone with them and went to my room. Ehm... so... we just sit in the room and watch TV and search at the Internet. We have our own laptop. That‟s how we spend our days here. When my son came back, I gave him to my wife and then I went at night upstairs where the other guys live and talked to them. I stayed there till 24 at night, maybe a little bit more. When I came back my wife was sitting and both of my kids were sleeping.” Ranaa: “Okay.” Ibrahim: “And then we just watched TV and used the laptop. We use Skype to talk to our families outside the country.” Ranaa: “What are you doing when I leave you today?” Ibrahim: “Nothing, just watching TV and search at the Internet.” Ranaa: “What if you lived in Copenhagen, what would your day look like? Compared to the life in the centre?” Ibrahim: “Of course it would be different. We would have more friends and contact to persons. Here in the camp it is very difficult to have contact to people. You feel many here are not normal mentally. I don‟t trust… I can‟t leave my wife and children alone here. But if you lived outside the camp, you would have more friends and we would easily go out. When we leave the centre here, we only do it when it is necessary. It is very expensive to go to Copenhagen so of course it is a huge difference to live in a city.” Ranaa: “Since you use a lot of your time in the centre, does the centre make some activities for you. Ehm...” Ibrahim: “Yes, they do but not so much. I remembered they made a party and invited a group to sing. But I don‟t think there are enough activities in the centre. For example sometimes I see posters about parties for Afghanis and it is in their language so they distinguish so activities for everyone its very few... if we should talk like real activities no... Hehe…” Ranaa: “Some other here told me that they have a gym hall that they open every evening/sometimes. Do you go there?” Ibrahim: “Ehm... see... it‟s different for me because I am married, I am not like the singles and you also have to not be stressed mentally and have energy to participate in the gym. We use our time on walking outside and getting fresh air. But yes there is a small gym downstairs, I think at the first floor.” Ranaa: “Do you have a living room where you can sit if someone comes for visit? Instead of sitting in your room?”
Ibrahim: “No, wallah we don‟t have that. And actually I am very sorry that I didn‟t invite you into my room” Ranaa: “No, it‟s okay, don‟t be sad about that.” Ibrahim: “It‟s because we only have beds in the room and we don‟t have a couch, so it is difficult to have people over.” Ranaa: “Whom do you share a room with? And how big is your room? I know you told me the first time we met, but I just want to hear it again.” Ibrahim: “Ehm... me... hm... I have a small baby bed, a bed that is closed from all the sides, and I have two other beds for my wife and me. I share the room with my wife and my two children. We have two rooms, one of them we use it for sleeping and as a living room and the other one we use it for our stuff like the pram and the table. Yeah, that‟s it.” Ranaa: “What about the bathroom?” Ibrahim: “The bathroom is outside our room and that is a huge problem for us here, especially for me. Because ehm... I.. I am Muslim and my wife wears cover and when my wife wants to visit the bathroom, it is a huge problem for her, but she is a grown up person and she will accept it. The other problem is my children. My son is 2 years and 2 months and we want to teach him how to use the toilet and not use pampers, but it so hard. For a time we tried to let him sleep without a nappy, but it was not possible to go outside the room at night, when he needs to go to the toilet. When he says; baba I want to go to the toilet or mama, when we arrive to the toilet he already peed on him self. So another problem is when we can‟t to give the children a bath; the windows in the toilet and beside the toilet from the outside are always open because of the kitchen is so close to the bathroom so they open them because of the smell. We have to take all their clothes with us to the bathroom and a cover and then I cover them from the top, their head and their legs so the cold air doesn‟t make them sick. Another thing that I would like to tell you are the kitchen problem, I talked to the reception but nothing happened. My wife got asthma after the birth of my daughter; no actually she got it while she was pregnant and always always... My door is close to the kitchen and the door into the kitchen is open all the time. Imagine 10 families cooking in the same kitchen the smell of the food is very hot and that gives my wife trouble breathing even if she takes her medicine. So I talked to the reception.” Ranaa: “What did you talk to them about? The room?” Ibrahim: “Yes.” Ranaa: “Ohh, I remember. Once you told me about this apartment you wanted.”
Ibrahim:”Yes, but I couldn‟t get the apartment because there is another family who needs it more than me. It is a single mom with 4 kids, and I understand that. I have only two children so I can wait compared to her. May God help her. So they gave her the apartment that I wanted. So I asked the reception if I could get an apartment here with a bathroom and kitchen, or outside the centre.” Ranaa: “What did they answer you?” Ibrahim: “They told me that they can‟t help me because there is only one building in the centre with apartments and there are only 6 apartments and they are all full at this moment. “ Ranaa: “When you shop where do you shop? And how long does the transport take and do you get daily stuff as toilet paper from the centre?” Ibrahim: “When we can‟t shop stuff for the house, I take the bus for 30 minutes and 30 minutes back again till Viby Sjælland. So the trip takes me one hour. Viby is the nearest city here, but this is another thing... ehmm… so it is very far away.” Ranaa: “Now, I know you are good friends with Ahmed here, but do you have other friends here?” Ibrahim: “No, not really, I only have two friends here. I say hello to everyone, but I don‟t have contact to him or her, it is just to be respectful.” Ranaa: “Okay, what about your relationship to the workers here?” Ibrahim: “What do you mean?” Ranaa: “The Red Cross workers.” Ibrahim: “Very kind... listen, some of them are obliging and they talk to us in a way… ehmm... How should I explain it to you...” Ranaa: “Try to give me an example.” Ibrahim: “They treat us different from person to person. When we arrived here the first time, we were... You know everything was new for us and it was hard for us and in Sandholm camp were we lived before was much better than here, because we had our own small apartment with own bathroom and kitchen and own door and we were happy there. But everyone told us that here it was better (Avnstrup asylum centre) and when we came we saw that the bathroom and kitchen were outside of the room. Any person would get humiliated.” Ranaa: “Did they ask you if you want to move into Avnstrup centre?” Ibrahim: “No, I was force to move. Anyway we arrived and I went to the office and talked to them about our room situation and I became mad and my wife started to scream and cry. So and he treated us, ohh how should I explain it, in a very very disrespectful way and he was very rude. He
said that we were immigrants and we could accept anything and ehmm... “Your visa is only temporary and you don‟t know for how long you are staying here.” He talked in this way and ehm.” Ranaa: “Did he speak to you in English?” Ibrahim: “Yes, in English. So I got hurt and that was my first day here in the camp and there are other workers here like Jens, even if they can‟t help us they tell us sorry in a very respectful way. I asked him about the apartment and he told me that he could not help me, but in a very good way. He does not talk down to you; he doesn‟t make you feel that he is higher/better than you. You feel that he is really a Red Cross worker. The Red Cross is a NGO and their job is to help people who need help.” Ranaa: “Okay and what about the reception? I mean you see them everyday when you enter the building?” Ibrahim: “I don‟t have a relationship to them. I only use them when I want to buy a ticket for the bus or when I want to pick up my post. We use them for the normal daily stuff.” Ranaa: “I also saw that there is a police station here.” Ibrahim: “Really? I didn‟t know that before you just said it.” Ranaa: “Okay, I know, they help you if you have lost your ID card.” Ibrahim: “I don‟t know. I haven‟t seen the police walking here before.” Ranaa: “How is the privacy here? Is it like it always was? How would you describe the opportunity for having a private life here in the centre?” Ibrahim: “Well listen, I thought that there was some kind of privacy, but I had a bad experience here and I also tried to talk to the reception about it, but they didn‟t help me really. One day I was sleeping with my family, and suddenly the door opens by it self. Someone knocked at the door before but after 1 minute while I was taking some clothes on so I could see who it was; two policemen entered my room by using a key. I asked them what they want and how they could come into my room without asking, I was very mad. Then they showed me their police-card, and told me that he was a policeman. I told them so what, what do you want from me. That they were looking for a young Iraqi boy who was going to be send back to his home country and they couldn‟t find him in this room were his mom was waiting so they searched all the rooms in the building. They thought he was hiding and they found him taking a walk outside. The problem was that the men were policemen and they were wearing weapons so I could not say so much to them.” Ranaa: “Can you explain me your reaction when they entered your room?”
Ibrahim: “My wife was in shock and my children were still sleeping. My wife covered her self with the duvet. I was still in my boxer shorts and wanted to get some clothes on before I opened the door.” Ranaa: “How were you feeling, when they came in?” Ibrahim: “I was very mad and I was hurt. Any person who does not live in a camp even if he sells drugs, the police cannot enter his home without the papers from the judge. But here in the centre they can just come into my room without even applying for it before and without any papers. I don‟t know if they don‟t see us as human as them, but that‟s up to them.” Ranaa: “What did you know about Denmark, before you came?” Ibrahim: “Nothing.” Ranaa: “Nothing at all?” Ibrahim: “No, because plans were not to come to Denmark but to Sweden. But the man, who I paid for helping us to come to Sweden, cheated me and I ended in Denmark.” Ranaa: “What do you know about the government here? Who decides if you get a positive or negative answer?” Ibrahim: “The first one is the police, and the judge. But from what I was I think it‟s the police most. When I arrived to Denmark I had to explain everything to the police” Ranaa: “What do you think about the police since your future is in their hands?” Ibrahim: “We have to respect them and follow the law. I should not enter any illegality and personally I don‟t like the police. I have to follow the law and if I follow the law 100 % they don‟t have anything to with me. “ Ranaa: “If you could change anything in the centre want would you change?” Ibrahim: “I would change the system. If I would I would delete everything named camp. “ Ranaa: “Where would you put people who seek asylum then?” Ibrahim: “In an apartment and not in a camp. An an apartment with your own bathroom and kitchen.” Ranaa: “Anywhere? Also like here?” Ibrahim: “Anywhere it doesn‟t matter if it is a village or not. The most important thing is to feel a stable life and this is a problem for everyone here in the centre, especially the families. Rooms without bathroom should only be for single persons and not for families.” Ranaa: “Ehm... okay. What is the difference between you and a Red Cross worker?
Ibrahim: “There is no difference. The difference is that he has a stable life, he has a house and a job. I can‟t use my education here or go to school here. I could not get Danish classes, so I can‟t even learn a new language. Even if I am more educated than the Red Cross worker or more mature, or not if... I am sure I am. I am 29 years old and what I have experienced a 40 years old man in Denmark hasn‟t experienced. I saw problems and I saw everything in life and I am still only 29 years old. It‟s very difficult to compare our lives.” Ranaa: “Have you changed as a person since you came to Denmark?” Ibrahim: “I became much more patient and I did not expect that I would be so patient and accept to live like this. I had a good job and house in my home country ehm… I just think I became more patient” Ranaa: “That is something good.” Ibrahim: “In the same way I try to do my best to act as normal as possible with my wife and children and people around me. Sometimes you end in a situation you cannot control but it goes again. Life has to continue.”
Appendix 4 Respondent: Jens, Red Cross worker Interviewers: Ranaa and Sini Ranaa: "I would like to know something about your background, like, education or what have you done since you're working here?" Jens: "I used to be a chef actually before. Mmm. When I was 20 I was educated as a chef and I was a chef for, like, five years. Then I took a master's in history. So I did a master's in history and I lived one year in Syria, studying a little bit of Arabic. Mm, so that's more or less my educational background. " Ranaa:" Yeah, mm for how long have you worked here in Avnstrup?" Jens: "Two years. January it's two years." Ranaa:" And... how many hours do you work for a week?" Jens: "Full time, like" Ranaa: "Fulltime." Jens: "Yeah... 37 hours" Ranaa to Sini: "Have you any questions or should I just..." Sini:" Yea, mm now we would like to hear you describe the centre in your own words" Jens: "Hmm, well how um...?" Sini: "What is Avnstrup centre like?" Jens: "Hmm... hahah. There is many words..." Ranaa: "Yeah" Jens: "Hmm... First of all it's a centre mostly for asylum seekers that had...got rejection, which means that they have to go home or have to stay here. Mostly, but we also have people that just came here. Ehm it's a very big place. It's like 560 people here at..., currently. Umm yea....Generally I think the vibe here is okay. Sometimes we have disagreements, fights and stuff like that, but if you consider the, the things that most asylum seekers has experienced during their time getting to Denmark and before that, I think basically it works kind of good. But at the same time also, um...Now that there has been cut backs in the budget, which means that in the last year or so, there has been a cut, like 15 per cent of our expenses, which means that the limitations of what we can do ehm for the people staying here is kind of limited." Sini: "How is it affecting, like to the daily life, these..." Jens: "cut backs" Sini: "yeah, cuts?"
Jens: "Less staff. Less money for, um... activities in general. But still if you eh compare to other European countries, the conditions here are good, but of course it's not like living, not like the standard of living that Danish people have, so the problem is that we have is that four single men have to stay in the same room. Kinda gives problems if people have different issues, but most of the time we try to solve these things and most of the time we succeed." Sini: "Yeah. Do you wanna tell us a little bit about your work? What is your typical day here in Avnstrup?" Jens: "Yea. We're like, um. Our group is the networking group. We're the social networkers, which means that we.. we have different kinds of... of... of fields. Ehm We work in, first of all we ehm advise asylum seekers on how their case proceeds. Not what, not they should do when and what happens in the different processes of the asylum case. We don't eh interfere with the way the case goes but we advise them on the procedure. Ehm, and we help with social issues, like, small things, like, if people get a fine in the train or the bus, we try to help them to pay the expense, or to...yeah for them to not to pay, if it's possible. We try to solve conflicts amongst the...amongst the people living here. We do practical stuff, like, moving new people in to their rooms. Showing them the centre, showing them where they can go to the Job centre, to where the kindergarten is and all this kind of stuff. Ehm. We pay the pocket money for the asylum seekers each second week. Apart from that we have a thing called PST, which is like a social... psycho-social team meeting, which is like a meeting each second week between...social coordinators, us, teachers, psychologists. Where we debate people that have different kinds of issues. That have...That are not doing that well. We try to find solutions for them, for instance we can ehm apply them with a person to support them, or we can apply them with psychological help or stuff like that. Ehm. Basically we're the ones who try to...try to make the centre work. We're like the meeting point for the whole centre. So this is what we try to do. We try to make it work so, for instance if people have a problem in their room with like a small thing, the sink not working, we try to contact a person to fix that and try to do all this kinds of stuff, so it's many different things we do." Sini: "Yeah..." Jens: "hahaha" Sini: "How would you describe the communication between the residents and the workers here?" Jens: "If you consider the the the language barriers, it's for my own case I think it's working kind of well. Considering, like, you have 560 people here, ehm they actually help each other a lot with translating and just in general helping each other, which helps us a lot. But sometimes it is...makes
things difficult for us because I speak a little bit of Arabic, we all speak English, we have one guy speak Russian and Urdu, Kurdish, we have one guy speaking German but we have no one speaking Pashto or Dari or this Afghan language, so sometimes it can be difficult. Ehm, I think it works quite well, generally. Of course there are misunderstandings." Sini: "What could be an example of a misunderstanding?" Jens: "Some...for instance one asylum seeker thinks that we promised him something, but we didn't really promise it we said: This is, we can possibly do this for you. It can create some kind of conflict, which is like not because we want it but there has been some kind of a misunderstanding. Ehm In some cases we use translators also, but this is mostly for really important stuff." Sini: "Yeah. How would you change the centre if you could?" Jens: "Ohhohoh! Puha, in many ways. First of all I think that only two people should live together in one room, instead of four. I would bring more money for activities of all kinds of sorts, especially in the evening when most of the asylum seekers are home." Ranaa: "If you had to...If you had the power to change anything. Maybe the place, where it is. Instead it being in Avnstrup, maybe in the middle of Copenhagen or they could work, or anything. You only could choose one, the most important thing, yeah..." Jens: "The main thing?" Ranaa: "Yeah." Jens: "It's difficult to name one thing. The thing about Copenhagen could be a good idea to some extent, because the centre could be more integrated in the society. Here we're kind of far away from everything. But it also creates like a challenge for our residents here. Which makes them more aware about, how the Danish society works. How you take the bus and how to work your way around Denmark. Which is good for them if they get a residence permit, so it's kind of....but I think about the space here for the people here if...I think it's the most important thing that they have more space for themselves." Ranaa: "Yes." Sini: "and, umm.. I would like to hear about the schedule here. What are like the...the activities that the residents have to attend or can choose themselves?" Jens: "The most residents have the possibility to go to school. Different kind of teaching, depending on which level of education and language skills they have." Sini: "Mmh" Jens: "And we have like internships, which is like helping to clean here. If you have good language
skills you have the possibility of going outside the centre working at some place." Ranaa:" Like volunteer working, or?" Jens: "Not volunteer working. It's like working. We have this thing called job centre. Which is in the first floor which they they do all the thing about school and um...internships. It's like...They don't get, they get extra money for going to school every day and getting an internship. like the basic payment is 700 kroner and 50 øre each second week if they fulfil their whole contract, which is like a contract they make for going to school and having their internship, it‟s like 408 kroner extra each second week. And then we have my colleague, Line, working next door, they do all kinds of activities. Trips to Copenhagen, football, and they communicate with the local society to get volunteers to work here. We have a guy taking people to football and women to badminton. My colleague Anne has a women's club each Monday. They do different kind of stuff: do make-ups, have lectures about health and all kinds of issues. I have a cooking class each second week. So there are some things but there could be more." Sini: "And, umm, how would you describe the difference between the staff world here and the resident world? Like you said (before the interview) it's a different world here in the office (compared to the rest of the centre)." Jens:" As one guy told me once: You cannot imagine what it is like to be an asylum seeker. And I can't I've never tried it, I've never been a refugee, I've been living in my own country all my life. so...We try to imagine how it is and we try to... My boss sometimes tell me we have a problem with some of the people staying here and we have a conversation with them, that we are here together and we try to cooperate, so we try to meet in the middle, but the most striking difference is that every day I go home four o'clock and I have my life outside the centre. People, that are asylum seekers, they have to stay here all their life. Well not all their life, but all the time they are here, haha, mostly. They of course, they can leave but they have to stay here, it's their address and it's not a volunteer... voluntary thing. They have to stay here. It's mandatory for them to stay here." Ranaa: "They have to sleep every night here?" Jens: "They don't have to." Ranaa:" Okay." Jens: "Officially they... or not officially but... The only obligations they have here in the centre are to pick up their mail and pick up their pocket money each second week. We don't go to the door and see if they are sleeping here. It's not our job to do this. We are not the crucial...We are the Red Cross we... are yeah"
Ranaa: "So it's possible for like the asylum seekers, if he gets… like a young boy living here gets a girlfriend from Copenhagen so he can go there, like, sleep, like four days in a week at her, without anyone... and still going to school, Danish class in Copenhagen, so coming like every second week to picking up his money and going back. Or is it...?" Jens: "Yes and no, haha. Officially, hm... they are obliged to live here but no one really controls that they do because it's not our job to do so. So, yeah, haha..." Ranaa: "Could you maybe tell us more about, if you have any kind of file system. like… like the doctor who have like this file to..." Jens: "The doctor has a file of all the people coming here. When they come Denmark they get a medical scanning in Sandholm (different asylum centre), which is like about if they are sick or are subjected to torture and all stuff. The clinic has a file of that. We have a social file in our system. We have a picture of all people coming here and we have like basic information. Yeah..." Ranaa:" What is basic...?" Jens:" Their (?)-number, their number, their birth dates, their origin and home country, age, all this stuff. Umm, and then we have a journal system where we write if they have any kind of social issues going on." Ranaa: "In the centre or at home?" Jens: "Mostly if they have like...if they...if they come to us and tell us about a problem we write it in our journal and it's confidential, it's only us who can read it." Sini: "All the workers, or?" Jens: "No, just my staff actually and the social coordinators. And we have and we write... Every time they get a letter from the authorities we get a copy of it so we know where they are in their case." Ranaa: "okay" Jens: "and I don't know, Then the job centre have a different journal system. I don't know much about that to be honest." Ranaa to Sini: "Okay. Do we have any questions?" Sini: "I think that was what we wanted to know, right?" Ranaa: "Yeah, that's it, actually. Maybe we could get his e-mail..." Sini: "Yeah"
Interview with Malik Laura: “Can you tell me, what you did yesterday?” Malik: “I was at school, then I was talking with someone about this case because he got two negatives, and eh I had to meet a person and then I was home.” Laura: “Yeah.” Malik: “And internet that‟s all. All most all internet. at the normal day when I don‟t have to go to Trampoline house or I don‟t have to fix something with someone then I am, I have free 12 hours doing nothing, I don‟t know where does it go it‟s lost, because 3 hours, 4 hours we go on the way we going and coming, 2 hours, 2 and a half hour, we are at the school without breaks, and the rest is….” Laura: “Free time?” Malik: “Free time, just free.” Laura: “You don‟t have anything from for example in the centre, where you have to be somewhere in a specific time?” Malik: “Mm, first before they have, people have practice, people have to do things but since I‟m not 22, I‟m 19…” Laura: “Oh.” Malik: “So I don‟t have to do anything I just have to do what they say. Like I have to go to school I have to be about (around).” Laura: “What if you had your own apartment In Copenhagen what would you do tomorrow?” Malik: “If I had my own apartment in Copenhagen?” Laura: “Yeah.” Malik: “Depending on that time what I was... What I had to do, because I think I had to go to language school, and I have document for school, maybe I would going to join something, a official something, like university or college, or something to be busy with.” Laura: “Mmm... aaand, Are there any like common activities in the centre?” Malik: “Can you talk louder?” Laura: “He yeah, are there any like common activities in the centre, like something you all do together. Arrangements?”
Malik: “Sometimes, but it‟s so less sometimes, like late, late like … but not always, it‟s not like arrangements. It‟s a big centre people are on their own. So it‟s not so much cooperating system.” Laura: “You have different common rooms in the centre you have a kitchen, bathroom and living room...” Malik: “No, we don‟t have a living room.” Laura: “You don‟t have a living room?” Malik: “Where we live is our living room, up there in big building, there are four people in one room, but here because it‟s new two people are in every room. And they are small. You can‟t put four people in such room and you have seen up there it‟s four people.” Laura: “Yeah, I‟ve seen but you don‟t use the room with table football and so on?” Malik: “I never go there because I don‟t like both of them.” Laura: “When you need like shampoo and toilet paper where do you get these things?” Malik: “From the shops outside, but when you‟re living in a centre that‟s transit, that‟s like they don‟t pay you money, they pay if your phase one, 114, phase two, 408 kr. Then they give you shampoo and all that you have credit, like you have like 100 credit, then they count, you choose shampoo, body spray, soap or toothbrush, toothpaste whatever. But when you are here you have to make it all like up from the money you get, because you, we get, we get, I get 1108 kr. per 15 day. And so I have to make it everything by my own, transportation money to school they pay. I pay for my eating and the other stuff that I‟m doing.” Laura: “How many friends do you have in the centre?” Malik: “I know much people, but I don‟t have any exact friend to sit and talk and share with. But I know people that I go and sit; they are called friends but not a close friend.” Laura: “No okay, what about the Red Cross worker in the centre?” Malik: “In Avnstrup?” Laura: “Yeah, are you friends with them?” Malik: “Eh, I‟m friends only with lady called Sine, and the others they are different, one is good behaving someone is bad behaving. So I don‟t want to be too much in to them.” Laura: “No. And when do you see these Red Cross workers?” Malik: “When I come after school, and all night they‟re open, the centre don‟t have closing time reception is open 24 hrs. Office close but reception is always open like they have breaks, 2 hours or two hours, half hours, but two hours together, four hours together if they take the breaks, but it‟s like 24 hours open and 24 hours there are two people for something emergency.”
Sini: “You said that some of them act good, and some of them act bad, can you give an example of both, for example?” Malik: “Like when you, there is a guy named Budi he is a good guy, he‟s a perfect guy, but there is other person, that, I don‟t want to take their name, he or she is not a good person, like once I had a problem with something, look there is 600 people, 400 I don‟t know the exact living in the centre, and there is only one machine to recharge your washing clothes card. Because your having a card to recharge it to your own money and wash the close it‟s like living in an apartment, or “lejlighed” as you say, so and the machine was broken and I went to her and said; what‟s wrong, I‟m going to school tomorrow and I have nothing washed, so I should wear dirty clothes, she said to me that I don‟t know what to do and, I said to he it‟s wrong and it‟s not good. She said to me; Listen! And Listen to me good! Dedede you should hear when I say that it is closed it‟s closed, then it is not working, and you should understand it! And she turned around tatatata, (imitating), walked, and I said okay. Then other day I went to boss and talked to her, and I don‟t know, what happen after that.” Laura: “No, do you go to the reception, do you use that for anything? Reception in the big building do you use that for anything?” Malik: “Yeah, we use it for taking post, people use it for much things, it is the place you can use it but at night time not too much in day, if you have a problem, this is where you go up, if you have a post they will give you in the reception, or if you need some information, or if you have a little problem, but if it is something important, then you have to talk with the office members who are working upstairs on the second floor, not in the reception.” Laura: “Okay, eeh when you came here to Denmark and applied for asylum you went to the police…” Malik: “I went to the police, first he thought I‟m joking, I said to him that I‟m not joking, but if someone caught me outside, I will see I will bring him to you, that he said to me I‟m joking and I‟m walking around with nothing. And then lady come like really kind and good lady, I wish I see her once again in my… HER in my life. She was so kind and she said to me; give me all the papers that you have. She took my identity card and all the paper stuff that I have. I had a CD and a flash stick, she said can I take? And I said no because it was all my like my song and stuff that I had to carry and software‟s. She put it in a bag and she put it in like drawer in the wall, and so... then the police came and she started to search my bags. I had a bag on my shoulder and a bag on my back. I had, I don‟t had too much luggage, the they searched and after that he wear his gloves, he joked
with me and he said you look like a criminal, he started searching me, I did like this, I put my hands behind my head, and he started searching me, then he asked; do you have money? And I said yeah. Then they took me to a train station I didn‟t knew where it was really, but if I go there again I remember it. Cause it‟s important, so I remember, cause it was the first time I go to train station in Denmark. So I just give, I think 50 Euros for lady the police was talking with. There was two police officers with me, but that wasn‟t a police car, it was private, police private car. And they took me there down and they give me a paper, and they said; you have to go to this address and a schedule for trains a buses, and when I went there. I came to Sandholm, I had to wait about 2 hours one and a half hour, it was fasting month. The person in front of the door said; if you want to drink water, every water in Denmark is clean, from where ever you drink it‟s clean like for drinking.” Laura: “Yeah.” (laughing) Malik: “Yeah, you were laughing, I don‟t know why (laughing) so and it was done. After a few minutes, there were other people; a person came from inside of the building. When you enter Sandholm it‟s a big building, in front of you. He came and he said to me or eh, do you have the paper. And they contact each other when you go to police station that a person coming to Sandholm. He took me in and he started to taking my pictures like criminals from my eye, ear, here and face, and right, and left, and right, height and all that. And he took my finger print, and then he send me to a building 76. That‟s the Red Cross building, and they give me an id-card. And when I went there, there was a lady she give me hamburgers.” Laura: “Hamburgers?” Malik: “Burger, burgers.” Laura: “To eat?” Malik: “Yeah.” Laura: “Okay.” Malik: “And said to me wait, when I was eating it, she come to me and say... she was kind too she was lovely and kind even though she was old. And she came and said to me; okay, are you new? I said yeah. She took me to a long container, because much people are coming so they have much of pavilions, containers. I was one night alone there, second night… or that no first night I was alone second night they brought a person. I was two or tree nights there, then it was ten o clock in the morning someone knocked on my door and said; you have been moved to centre Audirød (Auderød), and then I lived up there it was a big centre, I was too much into Red Cross that time, too much, and I was helping around helping around, then I had problem with a worker in office,
then they had to move me, then I got moved to Rødby havn. First I didn‟t want to go, they would take it to me and said if you don‟t want go police will come, and bla, bla. I didn‟t knew that time it was all bullshit. They were all lying, police won‟t come, police will come if it is so much trouble and you don‟t go, so much people is being moved to other centres, they are not going no police is there if they are staying in the system. So when you are new you just don‟t know. I went to Rødby havn, at first it was so boring, but it was a small centre inside a town, like so much inside, like behind us where a football field. Like when you where just getting outside there was Superbrugsen and homes for the people. Not like here you have to walk, but it was just two minutes to Brugsen and all that. And we were living up there.” Laura: “It‟s okay, long story… he okay. Yeah how do you feel ever like you want to be alone here?” Malik: “How alone?” Laura: “You want to go to a room just by your self?” Malik: “It‟s normal everybody wants to have his own room, but it‟s almost impossible in a big centre, but in other centres, small centres, you can have it, if there is a free room for one person, in big centre you can have it, if you have a problem like your foot is not working, your hand is not working or you have a sickness that someone else if living will get bothered by you, annoyed, they will give you alone room, but not if you're fine.” Laura: “No, so you don‟t have the possibility…” Malik: “No possibility to have any privacy.” Laura: “No, ehm do you have any hobbies or interest, like playing guitar, or watching football or…” Malik: “Everybody likes to watch football and play football, but we don‟t have an exact team out here. I like to play chess, you know chess, too much, games much, I‟m too much in games. But now it‟s not.” Laura: “Can you can you play these games in here?” Malik: “No, if I want to play Medal of Honour or Blackops, a Play station is 2000 kroner, so it‟s hard for me to buy it.” Laura: “How much do you come outside the centre, like to school or trampoline house?” Malik: “It‟s five days in a week, but it‟s for me. I know person who don‟t go outside his room in one week, he only goes to toilet and comes back... And sitting. Someone else takes his for him to eat.”
Laura: “So it‟s different, oh what did you know about Denmark before you came here?” Malik: “I just knew it‟s a country, and the capital is Copenhagen it‟s so flat without mountains, yeah.” Laura: “Yeah.” Malik: “And it‟s social, the system is social system, it was all I knew.” Laura: “What do you think about the Danish government, do you know?” Malik: “It‟s rule like when the governments goes down, new government take so the 100 days, 90 days to change all the stuff, because the government has privacy, and all that so it takes 99 days 90 days to change it, like 100 days. When I came it was blue. I got one negative, my first negative in their regime. And I really don‟t like them, as nobody likes them, but there are people who like blue, and we, we are red.” (laughs) Laura: “Haha, hrm you weren‟t supposed to know that, ehm, what would be a good life?” Malik: “It‟s a hard question, it depends on the people what they wish, what they can get. But right now for me hmmmmm. I don‟t answer it.” Laura: “You don‟t know.” Malik: “I don‟t answer it.” Laura: “Okay, do you have anything.” Sini: “No, not really.” Laura: “Then that‟s it, you‟re free.”
Visit in Avnstrup asylum centre the 5th of December 2011
Avnstrup asylum centre is located 15 minutes bus drive away from Viby Sjælland station. There are not many other buildings around and it is surrounded by forest. The centre is constituted of a big main building, some barracks and smaller buildings. There is a police station at the centre and the police are always present. The whole area is supervised by security cameras. Residents share a room with 1 to 4 others usually from the same county or culture area to avoid conflicts. Families have their own rooms. The office and the reception are in the main building.
Malik First when we arrived, we met Malik - a 19-year-old boy -, who has come to Denmark alone. His family is still in Afghanistan and he has very little contact to them. He has been in Denmark for a bit over a year. Within that time he has been living in 7 different centres. Malik lives in the new barracks and shares a room with another man. The room is approximately 13m2, with 2 beds and a wardrobe. Bathrooms and the kitchen are shared and they cook themselves. Malik‟s roommate is having serious mental problems and cannot have others than Malik close to him. (When we came he introduced himself and left the room.) Malik was extremely well-behaved. He offered us some nice tea and was welcoming. Malik speaks fluent English (and 8 other languages!). He graduated high school very fast. He dreamed of being an astronaut, but thinks it's too late now. He is currently going to a Danish school in Copenhagen. He has friends inside the centre and former residents outside the centre. He spends a lot of time on the computer. He doesn't bother to go to the hobby room in the centre, because it is open only from 7 pm till 12 and always very crowded. He said that he is good with computers and is planning a website where he will post videos to prove the police's unjustified actions towards asylum seekers. He told us about a case when a drunk guy had broken something and the police used unnecessary force to stop him. He also told that some time ago a man killed a fellow resident in the centre and that it was all recorded. He does not feel threatened though.
He told us that the closest super market is far away, but that one resident is keeping a "mini supermarket" in his room, where he sells food for a small provision. There is also an African woman selling cigarettes in the centre. The workers know about this business, but allow it. Malik told about the workers: "When you just arrive they are like angels, and when the process goes on they are like humans, but when one gets a negative answer they are like devils." He told in jokingly manner the following story. "We were in a school van one day. We were sitting in the back. I see a man in a beard and a white hat, you know how they look, driving past us. And the last thing I can remember was a big boom. I couldn't hear or see anything for a few minutes. When I realised who I am, where I am, I saw that everybody in front of the car was dead. We were lucky to sit in the back. That was when I thought: Fuck it, I‟m leaving" (note: not a direct quote, it is based on my memory)
Ahmed After spending about an hour at Malik‟s we went to the main building to visit Ahmed, a doctor, whom we all had met at the Trampoline house. Ahmed shares a room with 3 other men. There were bunk-beds a plain sofa, a table with a TV and some chairs. When we went there, one roommate - an older man, from the same country was present. The old man talked to us by Ranaa translating. He had just had a negative answer and was really shaken by it. He can not understand why. He is now proceeding to a higher court. He was forced to sign legal papers, where there was his statements written incorrectly. If he didn't sign, he could not go to the higher court. Ahmed was very interested in our project, having used the interview method in his own studies, and we might have revealed too much about the project, which might affect the result of his interview. Here are a couple of quotes of what Ahmed said the way I remember them: "It's not important for asylum seekers how we cook, or how we wash our clothes, it‟s the papers we are concerned about. The worst thing for us is waiting. It affects you." "I had a clinic and a house in my country. I'm not here for economical reasons. I didn‟t come here to sit around for 5000 kr., doing nothing. Good life - it is when you have work and can help others. We have one life and we have all try to make best out of it before we die."
The old man leaves to go to his cooking internship. He is accompanied by a Red Cross worker, whom Ahmed referred to as the “2nd Robin Hood” of asylum seekers. Laura got the worker‟s contact details and if he has time, he would like to help us.
Ibrahim, a Palestinian man enters the room with a 2-year-old boy. The boy is really afraid of us and cries a lot. Ibrahim says he is afraid of women. Ranaa talks to Ibrahim in Arabic and can tell more about the conversation. Laura and I talked with Ibrahim about movies and football.
Abdullah Abdullah is a man from Africa. He studied pharmacy before the government kicked him out of the university. He would like to continue his studies in Denmark. He shares a room with 2-3 others from the same country. His daily life is constructed of Danish school, sitting at the computer and cooking. He was 8 months in a different centre, before he was moved to Avnstrup asylum centre. One day he found a paper in his room saying that he is being moved the next day. He had a bit a hard time adjusting to the new centre, but it is fine now. "You never know what is going to happen the next day, if you are being moved to another centre." He travelled here through Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Germany. He was smuggled in a car (I think, he was in the trunk or hidden in another way). For two days he did not have anything to eat, just a bit of water.
The first experience at Avnstrup asylum centre
Laura and I meet up at Glasvej in Copenhagen and we already had butter flies in our stomach. The trip from central Copenhagen to Avnstrup Asylum centre took around 1 hour and a half. When I arrived to Viby Sjælland station I was expecting to see the centre near by, because we already were in the middle of nowhere. But from Viby Sjælland station we had a 20 minutes bus ride. Avnstrup Asylum centre is located in a big wood, still in the middle of nowhere. In the bus with us were a lot of people, who were also going to Avnstrup Asylum centre. The nearest shop is 10-20 minutes away from the centre, when you go by bus.
The first respondent named Malik invited us into this room. His room was in a small container used as a temporary house, because there is not enough space for all the asylum seekers in the bigger buildings. Inside it was clean and his room was very small. He shares the room with another guy from the same country. The residents living in the same container share a kitchen and bathroom. We got tea and sat on the floor like they do in their culture. The conversation with Malik was about life; the centre, the rules in the centre, why he is in Denmark and about where the rest of his family is now. After visiting Malik we went to see Ahmed and Ibrahim. I did not see Ibrahim‟s room, because he lives with his wife and two children and his wife is not too happy about getting visitors, so we did not get the chance to meet her. Ahmed lives in a bigger room than Malik does, but he shares the room with 2 other residents. The big building, he lives in, looks like an old, cold hospital. We meet one of the persons that he lives with, an old man from Syria, who just got rejected asylum last week. He talked to us and was very frustrated and did not know what to do with his life anymore, because he is rejected now and cannot seek asylum in other countries in Europe, because of the Dublinregulation. He seemed very lost and was almost crying in front of us.
Ibrahim had is son with him. I think he is around 2-3 years old. The child started to cry a lot when he saw us and was very scared, because he has not met us before. Ibrahim was very kind and wanted to talk about how he ended up in Denmark and that he is trying to get a bigger room, where
they do not have to share the kitchen. His wife is always afraid of going out alone and they don‟t know when to cook anymore because Ibrahim is forced to start some kind of practical training after school in the mornings.
Ahmed was very relaxed, positive and seems to be happy to have us there. He asked a lot about our project and wanted to know more about the theories, but Laura decided to tell him that she was not allowed to tell him about the theories that we were using in our project before the interviews. Of course after the interview he is more than welcome to read the theories and the project.
The last person that we met was Abdullah. Abdullah has been in Denmark for more than a year and is still waiting for an answer, after being rejected. He didn‟t tell us so much; just that he is married and has a son. His wife still lives in their home country with their son.
The building is very isolated from everything; it is in the middle of a wood and it is very hard to get in contact with Danish people because there are not so many living near by. All the walls in the building are white and on some of them there is a green line, just like in a hospital. Abdulla told us that it is an old hospital, so it doesn‟t surprise me anymore it looks this way. We did not see so many members of the staff. They were sitting in the reception and I saw one in the kids club. The kids club is placed in the basement of the centre, besides the gym and laundry room (it costs 5 kroner for one wash). In front of the reception there is a small computer living room, where you can use a computer with free internet. This living room is the only living room in the centre and it looks like a waiting room that you normally see at an airport or central station.
Malik told us that the privacy in Avnstrup Asylum centre is very limited, because there are cameras on the outside of the buildings, which makes some asylum seekers feel insecure. I tried to find the cameras and I did find them outside, but not inside. I saw a phone box just like the ones you see on streets, but it was inside the building. Actually that seemed very funny to me, because I have never seen a phone box inside a building. I started to imagine if I had a phone box in my own house, it would seem so weird.
The rooms were very simple; one bed for each person made out of red metal and there were many travelling bags under the beds or beside them. Like everyone was ready to leave the place at any
time. The atmosphere was cold and especially when it became dark outside, it became scary to stay there.
The kitchen was big and empty, the walls were missing some colour and there were no plants. But when you enter the worker‟s room, you see coloured wallpaper, lots of plants and there is a new warm and nice atmosphere. It is like entering a new world.
Appendix 8 Field notes Avnstrup Asylum centre 05-12-2011 observation day We take the train from Nørreport station to a much smaller station; Viby Sjælland. We wait for bus number 215 which will take us directly to Avnstrup Asylum centre. Most of the people in the bus are also going there. The bus trip takes around 20 minutes. Avnstrup asylum centre is placed between forests and fields, quite far away from the city Viby Sjælland. We wait at the bus stop in front of the centre for a couple of minutes before Malik, one of our respondents, picks us up. Malik is a young man around twenty, who came here alone from the Middle East. We shake hands. He invites us to his room, which is placed in a new building in the centre, made out of “containers”. Malik tells us that, this building only are for singles, who came alone to Denmark. Malik shares a room of around 10 square meters with another single man from the same country as him. In the building are a lot of rooms, a toilet, a common kitchen, where the inhabitants cook and a common room, where two men are sitting and smoking. In Malik‟s room are two beds, a small nightstand and a closet. There are carpets on the floor so they can pray in the room. On the table are two laptops of the brand Acer and two ashtrays. In the window sill is a lot of medicine. We take our shoes of and Malik asks us to sit on the bed. He leaves the room to prepare tea. When he comes back we sit on the floor drinking tea. Malik is barefoot, wearing military pants and a t-shirt, he has been in Denmark for 1 and a half year, and during that time he has been living in 7 different centres. He went to school in his home country and jumped several levels. He is clever. Malik knows a lot about the centre: in one room they sell cigarettes and in another room there is a whole supermarket. He tells us about a man; an asylum seeker who got killed in the centre by another one, he knew both of them. From his window we can see the building that houses the police, he tells us about when he met the Danish police the first time. “You look like a criminal” – they were joking with him. He tells us that first when you arrive and ask for asylum, they (The Red Cross workers) act like angels, later when you are in the waiting process they act like humans; if you become rejected they act like devils. We have been in Malik‟s room around an hour and we have to move on. We are now going to the real asylum centre as Malik calls it; they have a common room where they for example can play
table football, which opens at seven o clock in the evening. Malik never goes there, there are too many people and he better likes the small “building” he lives in. We cross the yard together with Malik, he points all the places with security cameras out to us, they are both outside and inside the buildings on each floor. Malik accompanies us to the next respondent, who we are going to meet in the big buildings. On the way he tells us about a day in his home country, he was in the school bus, he heard shoots and causing the high sound he was “away” for some minutes. When he was himself again, he saw that all the people in the back of the bus were dead. He laughs (when he laughs, I see it as a way of finding it hard to react in this certain situation) it was that day he said: fuck it all, I am leaving. We meet Ahmed in the stair case. He tells us to go to his room. Ahmed is in the beginning of the thirties, from the Middle East, he also came here alone, He was forced to go by the government in his home country, because he wanted to help hurt civilians, and he was not allowed. Ahmed‟s room is a little bigger than Malik‟s but instead of two people; they live four people in this room. They have beds, a table and a television; they are watching an Arabic news channel. We meet one of Ahmed‟s roommates. He is older. He tells us that he got two rejections, and he is really having a hard time in the centre, he doesn‟t think it‟s good for the self. He looks tired. He talks a lot. Ahmed joins the room, we get coffee and talk. We talk about everything; the life in the centre, football, movies, everything. Our third respondent joins the room with his two year old son. The son is screaming and crying, they tell us that he is very scared of girls. Our third respondent Ibrahim came here with his wife, son and new-born daughter. We were also supposed to meet his wife, but Ibrahim tells us that she is afraid of going out of her room and meeting new people. There are a lot of men in the hallway; actually we only meet one woman the whole day. While we are in Ahmed‟s room a lot of people are dropping by, most just look inside the room and leave again. Also a staff member from the Red Cross is coming into the room, he is called Jens, but the residents call him Robin Hood, they like him. They speak a little Arabic with him and he leaves. Later we go to meet our last respondent, Abdullah from East Africa; he is in the beginning of his 30ties. At this point we are all very tired. Abdullah shares a room with 3 other men from the same country as him. Mostly the residents live in rooms with people from the same country of origin. We drink coffee and talk a little about the interview and the centre. He is also tired from living there. As all our other respondents he also uses most of his time searching the internet, when he is not in the trampoline house. After a little time we go downstairs together to smoke a cigarette. On the way he shows us the common room, with table football and so on. The room opens at seven ò clock in
the evening. Abdullah also shows us the reception. The reception is open 24 hours a day. In this room there are around 10-12 computers and all of them are being used. There are televisions and couches. There are many men here and it is quite noisy. We go out through an old system where you had to show your ID-card to pass, but it‟s not being used anymore. We smoke a cigarette while Abdullah tells us about his travel to Denmark. He has experienced a lot. All of our respondents came to Denmark by paying human traffickers. He went through Greece and worked there to get more money, after that he was in Italy and so on. We go back to the reception and wait for the bus. There is one bus per hour. Finally the bus arrives; we leave Abdullah, and go home.
Avnstrup Asylum centre 10th of December 2011-12-10
The moment you see the big red brick buildings somehow you feel trapped. Everything looks way too big to grasp and you soon get the feeling that this is not, where you would like to live. On some of the buildings a bit of Christmas decorations are applied and when I look up at another building most of the windows have white or yellow curtains and in some windows you see flowers. Getting closer to the entrance it becomes very clear this building used to be a hospital. Upon entering we see the desk where the access control should sit behind a glass window, but since it is Saturday morning 9.30 am, there is no one. Getting inside on the left is the computer area, where some young looking mainly afro American men sit and the screen visible to me shows facebook. The entrance hall has a TV, which supposedly shows Al-Jazeera. Besides some chairs and benches the hall is quite empty. The walls are white and on the next door there still is a hospital sign. The chairs look like real waiting room chairs. We enter the reception and unfortunately the two Red Cross workers on duty have no idea of our coming. On the counter there is a bus plan. They do not start out in the friendliest tone, but after some research they invite us in to their office. The hallway, where the office door is, has a wall filled with bulletin boards regarding Red Cross information. Also on the outside of the building there was one of those. Inside the office it looks not much different from outside except for more comfortable chairs and that the number of people here is equivalent to the number of computers. It is possible to grasp a look into their common area/kitchen. The kitchen looks a bit friendlier, but also the fridge is covered by a note, telling you to remember to take your things home after your duty – a typical Danish work place. On the one wall in the office there is a plan – I believe of the centre – there are numbers applied and on magnets under each number something I cannot see is written; a plan of the centre with room numbers and the room‟s inmates, written so as it can be constantly changed. The registration forms the children‟s parents have to fill out contain the for us important information of one of the parent‟s signature, for the centre the important information of the number of one of them, I do not know whether parent or child.
Around 10 when the children meet us in the entrance hall 3 come with their mother‟s, most come alone. The mother‟s do not talk much and when in English. The children seem to speak Danish very well.
Saturday around 2 pm we deliver the children and cars back to the centre. The children just run of home as they, because of the incredible cold and their lack of Danish winter clothing, are cold. We enter the entrance hall once more. Inside I shiver from the welcome warmth. The room has gotten filled with people. Now many boys and men are inside and all the computers are occupied. On the chairs and benches other men are sitting. Before us a Somalian woman and her son (I assume) enter the reception, but they have left, when we enter. Two new Red Cross workers receive us, they know we would come and ask about our day. When we leave, one says: “Tak for i dag.” The men in the entrance hall, there are no women, look interested at us, while they sit on their chairs and benches. Waiting.
Appendix 11 The Interview guide for the residents
Personal information Gender
Country of origin
Length of stay in Denmark
Length of stay in Avnstrup
Marriage status (Is the spouse in Denmark)
Number of children + age (number of children in Avnstrup) Process status (rejected or not)
Routines: What did you do today, yesterday and what will you do tomorrow? What would you do tomorrow if you lived by yourself? Common activities – What common activities are there in the centre (everyday, and what do you normally participate in? Common rooms/spaces: Bathrooms, kitchen, living room – what do you do in these rooms daily?
Scheduled – what do you have to do and when, what is decided for you to do? How do you get your groceries? (Cigarettes, toilet paper etc.)
Relationships: How would you define your relationship to the Red Cross workers? How would you define your relationship to the office? How would you define your relationship to the reception? How do you feel about having a police office at the centre? What kind of relationships do you have to other residents? Do you have different social groups? What is your role in the different groups? Can you describe the situation with the police when applying for asylum?
Individual navigating What are your possibilities for privacy? Do you have a hobby/interest? Are you able to practice your hobby in the centre? How much do you go outside the center?
Denmark /government What did you know about Denmark before you came here? Is Denmark like you thought it would be? Knowledge about decisions made on their behalf (the application) Do you know, when and from whom you will get the answer for your application?
The identity: How would you describe yourself before you came to Denmark and after?
Other: What would you change in the center if you could choose? What is the difference between you and a Red Cross worker?
Appendix 12 The interview guide for the members of the staff
Personal information Gender
Occupation at Avnstrup
Weekly working hours
Length of work experience in Avnstrup
Jens: Can you describe your daily day in the Avnstrup asylum centre? What are your tasks in the centre? Do you have a file system with the resident‟s information? What is the difference between you and an asylum seeker? What social activities do you make in the asylum centre? Describe what the Avnstrup asylum centre is in your own words. What would you change in the centre?
Welcome to the Danish Red Cross - Avnstrup Center
On these pages you will find the necessary information about the center
Danish Red Cross Avnstrup Center Avnstrupvej 1 4330 Hvalsø
Denmark Tel: 35279800 Fax: 46496424
Avnstrup has room for approximately 500 residents. The center is administered by the Danish Red Cross. Your asylum case is handled by Immigration Service, therefore the Red Cross has no influence on its outcome. Pocket money: Paid every second Thursday from the second floor / west in the main building and must be collected in person and with presentation of ID card. Cleaning: You are responsible for cleaning your own room together with the other occupants of the room. You also have a duty to participate in the cleaning of common areas (see enclosed paper). A cleaning schedule is posted on the information board at your kitchen. For further information, you can contact those responsible for the practical work. Kitchens: Avnstrup Center residents must cook for themselves and must clean the kitchen, refrigerators, etc. In the rooms it is not allowed to cook, use electric kettles or other cooking equipment. Kitchen garbage must not be left in the kitchen or in the corridors, but thrown into the container behind the reception area (see map next page). The hand sink in your room may not be used for washing dishes. Alcohol and tobacco smoking: Only allowed in the rooms (if all the residents consent). By Danish law it is prohibited in the rest of the center. Internet: The center has wireless internet, but you must provide your own computer yourself. There are a limited number of computers available in the lobby. TV / radio: There are aerial sockets in every room where you can connect your own TV. You can sign up for a TV and you can get an antenna cable from the Service Center in the basement. Post: Collected in person at reception. Lists of received mail are posted daily. You must keep track of your appointments for interviews, clinic visits, etc. Laundry: There are washing machines in the basement of all residential buildings. Soap is added automatically to each load of laundry, and residents should therefore not add soap. It costs 5 kroner per wash and 5 kroner to tumble dry. You can buy a laundry card at reception. Guest Rules: When you have overnight guests the staff in the second-floor office must be informed. All guests must check-in at reception. Common peace and order: It is recommended, in the interest of the children at the center, that it be quiet in the corridors after 22:00 (10:00 pm). Show respect and do not play loud music. Transport: Bus 215 runs from Avnstrup to Viby. There are trains from there to Roskilde and Copenhagen. You can buy tickets for the bus and train at reception. Shopping: The nearest grocery stores are in Hvalsø and Viby. In Roskilde there are several more shops, including small ethnic food shops.
Departments in Avnstrup Center
Network Office: 2nd floor by the stairs in the main building. Open Monday to Friday from 09:00 – 11:30 and 13:30 – 15:30. Network staff can help you with practical and social issues. In the evening hours and weekends you can contact the reception. Reception: 1st floor to the right of the main entrance. Open 24 hours a day and staff can help with practical and social issues. In addition, they sell tickets for the bus and train and deliver mail. Job Center (VUA): 1st floor to the right of the main entrance. You will be invited by the staff for an interview in the Job Center regarding establishing an education and activation contract (Praktik) between you and the Red Cross. Meeting the obligations of your contract may open opportunities for additional services beyond basic benefits. In addition, the staff is able to answer questions relating to job training and education. Clinic: (See map) Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 09:30 – 11:30. Contact the clinic during opening hours in order to arrange for a consultation with the nurse. Medical screening interviews are by appointment only. The clinic also coordinates arrangements with medical specialists and/or with the hospital. In cases of emergencies outside of opening hours, contact reception. Healthcare Nurse: 1st floor. Offers pregnancy consultations and serves as a clinic for all children between 0-18 years. Café for adults: Basement, west wing of the main building. Billiards, table-top football, television, etc. Sports Room: Basement of the main building, west wing. Weightlifting, rowing machine and more. Great Hall: To the left of reception. Open to adults in evening hours. Billiards, table tennis and more. Multi-workshop: Main building, 3rd floor, east wing. Sewing machines and creative crafts. Info Café / Library: Main building, 3rd floor, west wing. Books in many languages available for lending. Homework help for children. Woman Café: Main building, 4th floor, west wing; every Monday from 18:00 (6:00 pm) Activities for children and young people: Playroom for children between 3 and 5 years old, Mini Club for children between 6 and 12 years old, Maxi Club for young people 13 to 17 years old, Club 21 for youths 13 to 21 years old. Service Center: In the east wing basement. Here you can get help from the center operational staff responsible for cleaning and the technical staff responsible for maintenance. Here antenna cables and light bulbs are supplied and you can borrow tools. In addition, baggage can be picked up with a baggage slip that you receive in the mail. Information Boards: Mailing lists, appointments for doctors and clinics, etc. are posted on information boards at reception. Check daily whether you have mail. For your safety, we use your 53
immigration number and not names on mailing lists. Mail must be picked up in person by showing valid identification.
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