Refugee Syrian cook cooks for homeless people

This video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Homeless in Amsterdam

28 May 2013

Episode 03. Making ends meet, item 02. Since her arrival in the Netherlands [from Uganda] 15 years ago, Sylvia moves like a nomad from one place to another. She is desperate.

Translated from Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad today:

Syrian refugee hotel cook cooks here for homeless people

By Eefje Oomen

In Damascus he prepared five-star cuisine; in the asylum seekers’ center in Doetinchem he does not even have a stove. But yesterday, refugee and former Sheraton cook Kenan al Hadi (37) once again could enjoy himself for one day. He prepared a quality dish for Amsterdam homeless people.

Things are a little difficult in the kitchen of the homeless shelter next to Amsterdam Central Station. Leaky sink. Soaking wet tile floor. And two burners that have only a faint flame. But Kenan al Hadi is not complaining. ‘Very nice’. He loves to spend a few hours with soup pans, colander and a few bags of orange lentils.

Kenan serves a Syrian special meal to hundreds of homeless people, addicts and psychiatric patients. Nothing complicated. Rice, chicken, salad with yogurt sauce. But ‘regular’ Nordin sticks his thumb up. ‘Good to eat!’

Kenan falls silent. ‘I do not need compliments, I’m just very happy that I can do something.’ Days, weeks and months he has ‘spent in boredom’. First he was in the emergency shelter in an old office building at the Flierbosdreef in Amsterdam and now in a ‘processing reception center’ in Doetinchem, Gelderland. ‘The first weeks I was just glad I was safe, but now I am really getting depressed, gloomy because of idleness.’

Last September he arrived here. After a miserable trip like already hundreds of thousands have made. From Syria by bus to Lebanon. With a ship from Lebanon to Turkey. With a rubber boat from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. Thence by plane to Thessaloniki and then, partly on foot and partly by bus, via Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria and Germany to the final destination.

He left his wife and sons Osema Zain (6) and Joud (4) behind with his father in As-Suwayda in southern Syria. He himself had ‘nothing’ left to stay for in his homeland. There were on his way to work at the Sheraton Damascus so many militia roadblocks and dangers that he hardly went to the city any more. ‘And the hotel industry has collapsed since the war: the staff has been sacked.’

‘Beautiful work’ he had before the war in the luxury hotel with swimming pool, fitness club and around 300 rooms. A large gleaming kitchen. With the latest equipment. And two hundred colleagues. ‘I have learned there to cook so many dishes. Not only Syrian. I can also make perfect Italian pasta.’ …

Meanwhile, he still dreams. That his family joins him. And that he may permanently wear a chef’s hat. In the heart of Amsterdam ‘start a Syrian restaurant. That is my heart’s desire.’

13 thoughts on “Refugee Syrian cook cooks for homeless people

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