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Dinner with Carmen

How a chance meeting on a station led to a multicultural dinner

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By Agha

“Can I help you?”, a woman asked me when I was looking confused at Roskilde train station.

I had been on my way back to my camp in Vipperød when the train suddenly stopped in Roskilde and everybody left the train. The messages from the speakers were in Danish, so I did not know what to do.

I noticed a slim, smart lady in her fifties watching me; she seemed to understand my situation. She helped me to find another train for Vipperød. As she was going on the same train we boarded together and started discussing how asylum seekers live here in various camps throughout Denmark. She told me her name was Carmen

After this meeting, we happened to meet occasionally and our friendship developed to extent that we were able to discuss different topics, especially about different cultures.

Impact of New Times
Once I gave her a copy of our  New Times  magazine so that she could read more about asylum matters. A week later we happened to meet again, this time at Main Central Station in Copenhagen. She expressed concern about how little Pocket Money we asylum seekers are given. She told me that she would like to make a dinner party in our camp for me and my camp fellows. We agreed it should be on Friday, 1st March;  she  would buy all the ingredients and we would all cook together. On my return to the camp, I told this good news to all my camp fellows.

Party day
On the day, Carmen and I bought all the ingredients from Netto and she went straight to the kitchen to start cooking. I went to find Suma, Razia, Kia and the other Iranian camp fellows who had promised to help. They all got involved in different tasks and after about two hours we had cooked several Iranian dishes which we took into the TV room, where we had already arranged tables and chairs.

We were about 30 persons, including four Danes. It was such a happy gathering. We all were all enjoying our food and exchanging ideas that we had little notion of how quickly the time was passing. Suddenly it was 11pm and we had to say goodbye to the Danes.

We all thanked Carmen wholeheartedly for creating such a wonderful event. The other Danes also so enjoyed themselves that they proposed contributing some money so that we can hold this kind of dinner party again.

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