"If someone would ask what I miss the most from home, I would tell them I missed the smell of my mother and my brother. And the voice of the man I loved."
Klik her for dansk
By Silan Deniz Teyhani, volunteer in Trampoline House's journalism group Trampoline Times'
I have been living in a camp in Denmark for about four and a half months. The day that I arrived at the camp is a day I will never forget. It was the first week of February and it was white all around. The snowflakes and wind made such beautiful sounds that I almost forgot where I was. I can still smell the snow… I was wearing a green floral print dress and snow fell on my neck and on my dear friend’s scarf. I had sought asylum. Now I was being taken into a room with my luggage in my hand, filled with my memories.
As I entered the room, I thought of my room in Mersin that I had left behind. There were posters decorating the walls, books, my toys that had never left me alone, and all the memories. A teardrop fell from my eye. I took a deep breath and felt the cold creep inside me. As a woman who had grown up in Mersin, I was feeling exceptionally cold. I went inside the room and placed my luggage down. I wondered if there was Internet, because I wanted to call my mother right away.
When I called, our relationship became deeper when I said, “mother” and heard her say, “my daughter”. My mother had not only been my mother; she had also been my sister, my confidant, my friend, my father, and even my comrade. I suddenly realized I missed her a lot. I tried to stand upright, but just wished I could go back to those days when I rested my head on her knees and she would caress my hair, telling me the story of Lilith. My mother would always tell me, “You will be a strong woman”. Yet, for the first time in my 25 years of life, I felt like I was standing upright and being defeated at the same time. You might wonder how such conflicting emotions could exist at once.
I then tried to sleep. After two hours had passed, there was a knock on the door and a new woman was brought into the room. I learned she was from Syria, and just like me, she was cold and scared. She looked at me and smiled. I asked her if she was hungry and she replied that she was cold. I gave her a kalpak that I took out from my luggage. Even though we kept quiet, our eyes told each other our stories. You know how they say, the eyes are the mirrors of the soul; and people know each other from their sorrows. We hugged each other and fell asleep keeping an eye on one another.
I gave my written statement the next morning. At lunch, I heard a woman ask her friend to bring her a knife in Turkish and I passed mine to her. I asked her if she was from Turkey and she replied, “No, I am Azeri”. I was so happy to find someone who could understand me. But shortly after, the wind went out of my sails as I was transferred to a different camp that same day.
The thing I will never forget from this new camp was the smell from the toilet. And there was no Internet. I could not eat. I looked at my plate and started crying. Looking back, I realize how much I cried those days. A woman approached me and touched my shoulder, asking in English if I was okay. I told her I was and thanked her. Her smile was so warm, making my chilly spirit also warm up for a moment. We would soon become friends. I wanted to write the next day and I scribbled a few things down.
Now, I am looking over my life and myself. I suppose it is a sort of a self-criticism. I live someplace very far from my country. A popular motto at home is ‘you will never walk alone’. If someone would ask what I miss the most from home, I would tell them I missed the smell of my mother and my brother. And the voice of the man I loved.
I think about the days when I would get mad at my mother, when I would get tense and take it out on her. I think now how absurd that was, Right now, I wish I could taste her haricot beans the way she prepared them. I wish I could hear my brother ask me, “What’s up Deno?”. I would like to go two years back - the best year of my life.
I think about the man I loved, his voice is in my ears as he read Adnan Yücel out loud as always; “A woman that drinks rakı is beautiful” he said and I burst into laughter. He told me ”How beautiful you laugh, never be afraid of life”. I was still laughing as he left. Because leaving is sometimes also a part of love.
Trampoline House offers free Danish classes for asylum seekers, refugees or other citizens who want to learn the Danish language and culture. Everyone is welcome.
New course on entrepreneurship makes it easier for refugees and asylum seekers to find a job or start their own business.
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Trampoline House has seen a lot of reconstruction since last summer, improving the space for children’s activities, socializing in the café and focused work.
“All in all, it is giving a space for the groups of individuals which both Denmark and Copenhagen is actively trying to phase out via oppressive economic, social, and immigration policies.”
On 8th of March, women with and without refugee background came together to discuss their rights and possibilities.
Trampoline House’s new legal counselor focuses on making immigration law more understandable for asylum seekers and refugees. She offers free counseling every week.
At Trampoline House’s house meetings, the participants are practicing democratic dialogue. Meanwhile, the government and the Danish People’s Party are restricting refugees’ possibilities for integration.
The new Women’s Class empowers women by sharing stories and discussing feminism and human rights.
Ping Pong is more than just a popular sport. By playing ping pong, you can practice living in accordance with Buddhistic and philosophical values.
The government’s refugee policies don’t make sense on a humane, democratic or economical level. We have to resist!
“Please listen to our voices. We do not want our loved children crying every day because of the horrible living conditions. Our children are asking, why are we living here? Asking, what shall we eat? We, parents have no answers but to cry also ourselves. We don't want our kids to suffer any more.”
Since October 25, children and parents have been boycotting the cafeteria food in deportation center Sjælsmark. They ask for the center to be closed.
Everyone who comes to Trampoline House now have the possibility to get help to find a job. Every Wednesday at 10am–12pm, volunteer job counselors arrange a job workshop that will strengthen the participants in their pursuit of the job market.
David is originally from China and now volunteering in Trampoline House. He has written a poem about hope.
Support from Novo Nordisk Fonden, Lauritzen Fonden og private donationer, has made it possible for Trampoline House to hire a Children’s Club Coordinator. "The Children’s Club is to function as a nice place, where these children can find ease, security, positive relations, predictability and happiness," says Sara Ipsen
“The kids with citizenship got all that is needed, but not children who are growing up in the camps. I'm just sorry they don't have the same rights as Danish citizens. Also, they don't have the same opportunity, freedom, house, food, generally normal life.”
“There is discrimination on both sides. She wasn’t completely comfortable telling us that she was from Dansk Folkeparti. That’s why it’s an important thing for us to go to People’s Meeting and talk with people that are different from us.”
“If someone would ask what I miss the most from home, I would tell them I missed the smell of my mother and my brother. And the voice of the man I loved.”
“Before I started coming to Trampoline House, I was just in Roskilde. Sometimes I went shopping for maybe half an hour, and then I returned home to watch TV.”
“There’s a different atmosphere out here. It’s not about learning Danish or getting help with your legal issues.”
"You can get mental health and body health from ping-pong" Meet David, who’s behind Trampoline House’s weekly ping-pong workshops
"The kitchen before was very small and wasn’t prepared for this amount of people, but now it is good, and we are working more professionally."
"Some of the kids have had a traumatizing past, but they feel very safe here"
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"There were politicians who came and spoke with local people, something that is the opposite of in my country, and I think Danish people should be proud of their democratic culture"