I come to London, I start working illegally; if I get cash in hand, I work. I was there during that time, that is the way I live, cash in hand, I work, I work, I work.
My name is Aziz. I’m 43.
The first situation, when I come in the country in 2004, I stay in Kent, Hastings. Maybe you know somewhere they call Hastings? So I was there for one year, and then unfortunately my case was closed, the Home Office they say, ‘OK, your case is finished, so you have to go back home.’
When they picked me up, and then I stayed two days the next day, they come took me to detention centre. After that, they released me, because I already had that experience, if you’ve never been caught before, you get scared to go back.
They gave me a letter to go and sign and I get scared. I get scared so much because even back in my country, I do not know what is police. They took me, they want to deport me. I stay in detention centre, again, which is scariest for me. I remember, four months there. After four months they tried to deport me, mmm, and they deport me, when they deport me back home… Because, imagine you had a problem, and you run to your country and they deport you back, is one, again, one of the scariest moments in your life, again. And you, sometimes you work illegally, if they still catch you again, you are going straight away to prison for six months, because this is something I never had experience with that.
So, because I had that, I say, ‘OK, it’s better I leave this place, I’ve lived in that village, to come to London.’
And I come to London, I start working illegally; if I get cash in hand, I work. I was there during that time, that is the way I live, cash in hand, I work, I work, I work.
So now, when I came to Manchester after one month, I didn’t stay even one month, and then he started asking me, ‘Aziz, can you borrow me £100, can you borrow me £50, I don’t have petrol to buy, I don’t have this. I don’t have this. I don’t have this.’ So OK, all the savings I had from London I bring just for my dad.
So because of that I just go out all the time, and then I meet some friends from Sudan, from Sudan, one of my friends from Sudan. And then there is one guy, again he is from my country but I meet him here in Manchester, and we became friends. When we become friends, before they are friends with that Sudanese guy, and then we go, I visit them most of the time, most of the time, and then I spend my time there with them. Once they [?took a] key from me. Like, I dress like that. I spend more than one month with those clothes.
This Sudanese guy, he tell me, ‘Aziz, come home and live with me. It’s a nice house, everyone [?is lucky, shelter], everyone can come and go, everyone, different ethnic minorities, everyone come: Sudanese, Algerian, Chadian.
I had friends that [?overdose], I said, so some of them drinking alcohol, beer, they’re smoking. I don’t know what it means, cannabis, unless when I come here in Manchester, because of the stress. And then I feel, I fell sick, very sick, because the house does no hygiene. I fell sick, I no eating with the stress back home, thinking back home, thinking for your children.
I started using cannabis, smoking cannabis, 2010, I think. I drink alcohol even back home, before, but cannabis I don’t know what it is. I never, because way back home I don’t know what is cannabis. I use, use, use. Again, [?desperation] starts, it starts growing, growing, growing, growing, growing.
Yeah, I remember […….] because my wife used to love it, even if she doesn’t know what is. She used to love it. Céline Dion [laughs] Ne me quitte pas.