Storying Sheffield

Gloria’s Story

“I came here because of the war.”

This story is part of the Storying Health Inequalities project. You can listen to an audio version of Gloria’s story here. Photos by Andy Brown.

When I came I wasn’t having a valid passport so they put me in prison because of that…yer because even in the warring countries I’d never been in prison…so when I’ve been in that place then I’ve met other people there, they’d be staying in the prison for their whole life, I say no [laughs] me I was there only for I think 75 days but I was feeling like I want to die, what about these people staying there for life? A life of prison there, these other people they will stay for 12 years prison I say why? No, freedom is good…yes because you eat what you want, you sleep when you want, you go out when you want, you see – they based everything on prison time so you can’t go change when you want to, you can’t eat what you want to, you can’t sleep when you want to, they make you sleep by force, you have to go in your room so in your room what do you do? Sleep [laughs] and then I’m getting more and more fat because of sleeping.

When I came out of the prison I was very big, because sleeping every time eat, sleep, go a bit to walk around, sleep…no it was not – I didn’t like that time. Just after prison they take me from prison to somewhere else for two days in London still and then from that place to Birmingham for two month again. Birmingham it was in a hotel, it wasn’t so bad also and then they give me a place to stay, they give me a bed, they give me blankets, towels, some plates, it’s good. Yer I like that honestly yer I know I’m suffering yes but anyway they try to think about me someway else.

This Refugee Council if you don’t have any something to eat they say you come here, they give you some cornflakes, some fruit, some veggies, no money yes but they give you something that can keep you for two days maybe some rice sometime, some clothes, support [Laughs]. There’s other people in my house everybody they’ve never been in prison you know they just claim asylum they give them place, they give them to the hotel after few months, maybe few weeks they give them a place to stay.

One thing I didn’t like when I came to this accommodation there was a lady with TB and then I had TB you see that’s the problem of immigration of this country, yes you give me food you give me a place to stay but…different. Like I say different education different health as well, you never know maybe I’m HIV…you never know so what about if I’m not kind and then I put – I give it to someone else you never know you see, this thing to put people together for long is not fair yer because I felt I was being – I was having TB December 2016, I was on the medication, I took that TB in my house. There was a lady who was having TB sharing the same accommodation and TB you can have it where it spreads so maybe she just cough and then I got it, but anyway they give me medication they said its finish.

Me if I pray in my prayer the first thing I ask from god is to give me good health. The priority in the life for me is not money, not food it’s the health, freedom and healthy, that’s the first thing after money, money is not so – money is just something that can help you yes. You have to have credit phone to call them – the GP so what about if you haven’t got? Sometimes I’m sick I just don’t phone because when you phone them they ask you ‘okay what’s wrong with you?’ You give them the diagnostic already by the phone but maybe my English is not good enough you see, I don’t like speaking English by the phone, because when I see you like this I show you that this one is this problem, I’ve got this problem maybe I can show you but by the phone how can I explain?

Sometimes I just don’t phone – sometimes I’m sick I’m not going I just stay because it’s hard for me…it’s hard for me. I don’t know how to properly explain on the phone but when I see you like this I tell you that I’ve got maybe itching on my feet now like now I’m suffering with itching on my feet, so you will ask me where is the itch? I must explain to you I don’t know the part of the body properly, much better if I’m sick I just come yer, for me it should be much better. I’m not feeling well I just come and then you ask me what’s wrong, I show you…I show you that you see this place this cuts or whatever I show you and then you can straight away. Explaining to the phone with this English is a problem, it’s a headache.

My hope in the next five years…if they keep me in this country that will mean that I’m not going to die because in Congo you can die anytime, just like that you die anytime, then I know that I’ve got a bit longer life, that’s the first thing and my fear is, to never know if I will meet again my children, they are getting big so I miss them they miss me as well, they miss me lots, so that’s my fears what about if they grow up what education are they having?