MyGRANT METAMORPHOSIS – funded by the European Union

John Smith [name redacted]

Ghanaian, 31 years old, male
5 May 2021

John Smith [name redacted]

I feel very happy being here and I would choose Greece over my homeland many times, since I feel safe here.

When did you come to Greece and at what age?

I came to Greece in June 2018 when I was 29 years old.

What were the conditions in your country that led you to come to Greece?

I left my country because of political reasons and went to join my wife in Georgia. I later left to go to Turkey because of racial abuse, both from the family of my wife and the people in Georgia. In Turkey, it was also very difficult, because of the racial abuse again. If you are not a Muslim, you don’t get payed for working and also there was a violation of human rights. For these reasons I came to Greece.

Was your access to our country smooth or difficult? Briefly describe your experience.

It was a very difficult situation and if I really knew this before I wouldn’t have started such a journey and that’s why I don’t encourage anyone to do this.

How was your life during the first time of your presence in Greece?

Well life in Greece at first was very difficult, especially on the islands and in the camps, because of the language barrier. Even though most Greeks speak English, they sometimes act as if they don’t understand when you want to ask them something.

Did you find a home and a job easily?

I lived in a camp of a Greek island and later I had to come to Athens to look for a place to stay with my wife and daughter. It wasn’t that easy to find a house but I finally succeeded, because I was determined. As for the job, I had started looking for job vacancies, even when I was in the camp. I got a job in a supermarket on the island and when I later moved in Athens, I was applying for jobs everywhere I could find. It wasn’t easy but because of my decisiveness and because I’m a hard worker I was able to find one.

Did you speak English before you came? If not, how did you overcome the language barriers?

Yes, I was an English speaker.

The Greeks have been famous since antiquity for their hospitality. Is this rumor considered to be in line with today’s reality? How did the Greeks treat you when you first came?

Well, Greeks are known for their hospitality but I have faced many acts of racism. Nevertheless, most Greek people I have met are very nice and hospitable, especially at my workplace.

Has the rise of the far right in Greece in recent years affected you? Have you ever felt fear of being targeted?

Yes, it has affected me a lot, as I am always scared of being targeted.

How is your life here today? Are you happy? Did you achieve your goal by coming here?

I would say I am very happy here, as I am with my wife and kid. I have so many goals that I haven’t been able to achieve yet and I hope to able to do this in the future. Greece is a peaceful country and I would love to stay here.

Tell us a few words about your current professional situation and how you got to it.

I am now a cook at a fast-food restaurant. I learned about this job opening when I applied for the cleaning position which was occupied. I was then trained for this job and I now am a good cook.

What advice would you give to a new immigrant/refugee who will come to Greece? What should s/he watch out for?

I wouldn’t advise any of my family members to come to Greece the same way I did, so I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do it like this. In case someone decides to come though, what they have to always bear in mind is that the situation they might find themselves in at first shouldn’t discourage them to try to move on, because nothing is permanent. They should always be determined on what they want in life.

Do you feel Greece as your second home? If you had the opportunity, would you return to your homeland?

I feel very happy being here and I would choose Greece over my homeland many times, since I feel safe here.

What do you miss about your homeland?

The only thing that I miss about my homeland is the foods and sometimes my family.