”My name is Karina Nys, 58 years old. I am from Belgium and live in Borgerhout. My whole life, I’ve lived in Antwerp. It’s very difficult to live alone, it’s like you are talking to walls. In the wintertime it was dark outside, sometimes I didn’t even want to get out of my bed, nobody controlled me… Everything that I do, I’m doing for myself.”
“My husband and I had our own company in the Netherlands. Then we decided to sell everything and emigrate to Canada. It took two and a half years to prepare all the documents. We easily received a permanent residence for Canada. So everything was fine, we had movers come, we moved there, everything was shipped over. We had 3 cars, we were a bit rich in that way. My husband immediately found a very good job, and I was a housewife like before, because there was no need for me to work. And then I got homesick, I started wanting to go back to Belgium after four months. It didn’t take very long, but I was already sick.”
“We had to start again, from zero. Because we put all our money in moving and so… We had to search for an apartment, search for a job and we managed all that. Everything was okay, both of us were working, we had no problem until he got sick with cancer. Then it started: two years and a half of treatments, chemotherapies, hair loss, hospitals… And in 2014 there was nothing more to do and he gave up.”
“I wasn’t angry or upset,
but I gave up”
“In the past everybody came to my house, we used to have parties with a lot of people around. But then my husband got sick and nobody came anymore. Then when you become a widow, all your friends are a little bit scared, because you’re a woman and you’re a danger for their husbands. And they don’t invite you anymore. I wasn’t angry or upset, but I gave up. I said: ‘It’s okay, I don’t need you. I can take care of myself.’ I used to trust people easily, but now I’m more careful.”
“I am happy when I am with my family, when my son is visiting me. He comes to visit me whenever I call and ask him to, he is always there for me. After my husband’s death he offered me to move to his apartment. We lived together for one and a half year, but then he got a girlfriend and it became hard to live together. I rented a house and started to live by myself.”
“I was getting money as a “leefloon”: it means money to live, in my case it was because my husband passed away. For the last four years I was at home, very depressed. I was sitting at home without any social activities…” Then from OCMW I got an offer to start working again. Because of my depression, sometimes I was asking myself: ‘Why am I alive?’ So when my social agent suggested me the job at Filet Divers I thought I should do it. Why not?”
“We are all the same”
“Before I came to Filet Divers to work, my parents and some people were telling me not to interact with all those immigrants, people of different colors, religions and such. For young generations it is the reality in which they grow up, but the old generation is scared of different people. It was a stigma, it was such a strong opinion in society. But when I started to work here I saw that we are all the same. If you talk with them, you will understand that. Every day I work here from 9:30 to 15:30, so I have all kinds of contacts here, it’s like a family. It helps me a lot to help other people.”
“Oh, the future… I don’t look too far in the future. I am scared. I’ll see what it brings, it can change just in a moment. I wish peace for everybody. No wars and revolutions! People get irritated for nothing! I would like to change that, to live a better life with each other.
- Describe yourself in in three words: optimist, emotional, friendly.
- When are you happy? – I am happy when I am with my family, when my son is visiting me.
- If you could ban anything from the world, what it would it be? – wars and revolutions! People get irritated for nothing! I would like to change it to live a better life with each other
- Which song do you never get tired of? My weddings opening music, I don’t remember the name.
- If you could choose anyone to have a conversation with, who would that be?– Someone I can trust.
- What is your favorite place in the world? My city is my favourite place, because here is my home, my family. That’s why I could not live somewhere else.