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Zina
“I am grateful that I can live in this city that offers us security.”

I came to the Netherlands from Baghdad. 
In 2006 I could come to Almere because my husband already lived there. The first thing I
noticed was the beautiful modern city. I enjoy the big stores here. There is so much choice.
In Iraq, we only had small family-run shops with little choice.  Another advantage I see here
is safety. Also when you cycle.

Over the years I have seen the whole city and my neighborhood grow. In my street live many
people of different nationalities. I find that cozy. Between them, I am, not a stranger, and I
belong to a community.  There are many young families with children the same age as mine.
In Almere, as in almost the whole country, the schools, the health center, the supermarket,
and the bus stop is close to home. 

In Iraq, there are more detached houses and not connected houses like here. That is a big
difference from my country. I live in a connected house where we all have equal social
status. There is not much difference between the poor and the rich. I like that.
My identity is now "half-half" because we speak Arabic at home and I cook Iraqi. My children feel Dutch. When they talk to each other they do it in Dutch.

I have met several Iraqi families and people who are now my friends.
I cannot return to my country because of the insecurity that exists there. I am grateful that I
can live in this city that offers us security. My children have a better future in Holland.

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Authors

Photos, Interview and Text: Lyla Carrillo Quan - van der Kaaden
Text Revision: Babette Rondón
Fotostudio website: www.101studio.nl