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Hopefully, Hopefully

I'm from Afghanistan. I have been here in Oxford, UK, for almost eight years. Coming to Oxford in 2015, it was not my choice. I was sixteen when I came. A lorry driver brought us. He didn't know that we were in there. At first I was travelling with my brother but then I had to leave in the lorry so I came here with some other friends made on the way. They're still in Oxford, some of them. My brother is in Birmingham. At first, I was just thinking, 'So this is England'. I had seen it in pictures, but I didn't know how it was going to be. But it's really nice, honestly. People are good.

I’ve been staying in this property five months or something. There had been kind of immigration support a long time ago, when my asylum case was going on. Then I had to leave the place I was living, because they refused my case, and they didn't want to give me any support. I was getting support through my friends, my brother. I lived with my friends during corona. Before that, I lived in so many places. I moved to, like, ten other places. I didn't have a house. I was worried about everything because my case was refused. I had too much stress, you know, about so many things.

That's when I was I spoke to Helena, who used to work with Asylum Welcome, and she tried to find me a house. When I came here 2015 she was working there. She helped me more than anyone. You know, whenever I had a problem I just called her and she tried to solve it. She spoke about Connection Support. After that they brought me to Canterbury House. I stayed there five or six months, and then to here.

This is really different. In Canterbury House, there were so many people living there, you know, it’s a student accommodation building. It was overcrowded. Here is much better – it's a house, and I have two other friends here. We have known each other for a long time, so there’s freedom, good communication with the people you live with. The place is in a quiet neighbourhood as well. Inside, the kitchen, the toilet – everything is better. Everything is good here. The first day we opened the door to this house, I think it was a sunny day. Nice weather, and I felt nice coming here.

Connection Support is good for us. They found us this house, and, you know, they support us with money, also. And with so many things inside the house, water, if you need an iron, et cetera. Anything we need for the house. Without that support I think it would be hard. Especially at the moment, I'm not allowed to work. My appeal case is still going on, so I have to wait. So it would be a problem – it's so hard to get a house, if you don't have money. You have to stay with a friend, otherwise continue to be in a homeless sort of set-up.

When I think about my future, the first thing I need is a decision from the Home Office about my asylum appeal. I want to do so many things, I want to make life here normal, you know, like people do in Oxford. I was studying, a long time ago. At City of Oxford College and Abingdon College. I was just studying English and Maths. It was quite new, you know, I had to improve my English. I just studied for two to three years. And that's all. Because, you know, once your case gets refused, then the Home Office they don't give you support anymore. At the time I wanted to study. I still want to learn, you know, I watch videos on the phone. But going somewhere, like college, I don't know – the time has already passed, you know?

In a normal week, I meet with my friends. Because there are so many people from my country. Some older, some younger. You know, when you meet someone from your country you have this connection. I met my friends through cricket, and also from college. We play football sometimes, we play cricket. Especially if the weather is nice. I'm good at cricket. We have a team, we play one or two matches a week, Saturday or Sunday. We play so it finishes in one and a half hours, same as football. The older people, they play test match, which goes for five days. I would never play that – who's gonna waste five days?

I'm planning to stay here. I like Oxford very well and I know so many people here, and I’ve been in Oxford since I was younger. I like this place. I think in my life, this is the first place I feel is my home. Not even in my country. Because everything is good. When you come here, you find everything is different. You have so many things here. We don't have much there. You know, the facilities, the support you get, and that no one can force you to do anything here. You have a government, they help you. In our country it's not like this. If you have power, then, you know, you can do anything. Compared to where I come from, there is much difference.

Like Connection Support. They have all the things that we need. Even when we had to move, you know, from one house to another house, they offered us a car, a taxi, so we can move our stuff. I think this was a good thing. They help me with everything. They answer very quick, you know, if you have any questions or have anything to say they answer. If I have something to ask then I ask them, and they help. If they can help, they definitely help. Especially in the situation I was going through, it meant everything for me. If they didn't help me, it would have been something very different. I was living with my friends. You know, my friends help me all the time. But I had a chance to be homeless.

When my asylum case wasn't successful, obviously I felt so sad. But the only thing I had to do is wait, so that's what I did. And hopefully it's going better now – especially at the moment, with the situation in our country. And I have a new solicitor, this solicitor is better. My brother had the same solicitor a long time ago, so he took my case there. And once I get everything sorted out, then I will have lots of ideas for what to do here. Hopefully soon, hopefully, hopefully. I'm just gonna wait.

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