About Refugees, By Refugees

Moise Kitesia

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Photo and interview by:


Democratic Republic of the Congo


Mahmoud Jabbie

I just want the better for them. That’s my dream,” says Moise Kitesia (17) of his family. Despite living away from them, in a shelter for minors, he says “my strength, I can say, just my mom and my sister.” The three of them fled the Democratic Republic of Congo following the abduction of his father. “I took his place as a man to help my mother and sister. So I’m just trying to figure a way out that can be like him one day.” Now in Europe, he states, “I’m not doing nothing… I feel like I’m living, but at the same time I’m dying.” Thoughts of his journey to Greece play back in his mind often: “Most of the time I think about it… I was really about to die”. But, he says, “I learn from the pain.” Five years from now “I see myself in a good life,” he says, “because if I don’t fight for it, no one going to do it for me.” And in this, he finds strength. “It gives me hope” which, he reflects, “is what we all want.” For Moise, “It’s just a fight that depend on yourself. That’s it.”

Trigger Warning:

full interview

Hello, how are you?
Yes, I’m fine, thanks.

Who are you?
I’m Moise. I’m from Congo and I’m living in Greece. I’m 17 years old.

Okay, nice talking to you. So what kind of housing do you live?

I’m living in a shelter house for minors.


Yeah. So, like, how can you describe the conditions there condition there?
Yeah. I can say it like… you don’t feel you feel safe, I can say. But not really, because you need something else, like the presence of your parents. But they’re not here, I can say.

Okay, so how that makes you feel?
Well, sometimes feel sad, depressed, but I can handle it because I don’t have choice for now.

Okay, yeah. So who do you live with?
I live with the boys there just.

Okay, so how do you spend your time here?
Well, most of the time I listen to music and I draw something.

Okay. Do you work?
No, not yet. 

So how do you feel like, when you are here you don’t work?
Well, that makes me feel all so bad cause I’m here. I’m not doing nothing. I’m here with my mother and my sister as well. My mother’s in the hospital, so I feel like I’m not doing nothing to help her in any way.

I’m so sorry about that.
No it’s okay.

Yeah, but like, do you go to school here?
Yes, I go. I am in, this is my second year in high school.

Okay, that’s great. So what are some of the things that brings you joy?
Well, when I’m near with my sister that’s the only thing that gives me hope, as well and can say because it reminds me why was in the past, before that I came here in this country.

Okay. How has life been since you have arrived in Europe,  like what has been the good things being here and what is difficult things again?
Well, I can say, like when I was in my country I was, could say, I was good. I said the problem that we had, that they require us to leave the country until I came here. I just, can say, just bad things that happened. Just I’m not together with my mother and with my sister. That are the main bad, bad thing I can say.

Where are they?
My Sisters live in the house for minors as well. And my my mother’s in Patra, another province.

Okay, can you describe how living here has made made you feel?
You mean in this country?

Yes, yes.
I say I feel, you know, like nothing because I’m just sitting going to school. But I’m not, I can say, I’m not doing any progress.

Okay. So, like, how does the feeling of not belonging stigma has impacted you?

Yeah, like the discrimination?
Yeah, that’s I don’t really care about that, you know, because I’m here, not because I wanted to be here. Understand?

And if I really wanted to be here, I could say I would care about that. But I don’t care about how, how they feel about me.

Okay. So could you ever imagine you’d be able to handle all these things that you have been through?
Yes, if I still alive until now, so it mean I can handle it until I don’t know when.


So, like do you develop, do you think you develop the ability to deal with all yeah, anymore…to deal with all of these challenges? Or do you think you always had those skills and inner strengths before?
I can develop it with the time that with the suffering that I pass, that with the time I learned about living in this great world. So I learn from the pain. Also, like the words to live in this world is not easy. If you don’t fight, you cannot get what you want.

Yeah I understand.
But whatever.

So, how has the Corona now affect you in terms of your daily life and your mood, wellbeing?
Well, where I can say it didn’t really affect him because I can say just some kind of disease. If you take care of yourself, you can be protected as well. If you don’t really care about that, you can get it and may die.


Yeah. So like how that makes you feel?
Not bad. Good. Yeah.

So, like why did you leave your country?
Well first, it was for a couple problems.

Politic problem?

Can you explain to us?
Well, my father was dealing with working with the government, so he had a problem with him. So it was required for us to leave the country at night. He was at home. Some men then came. They took my father. They beat him first and then they took him. And then, my uncle, my uncle he said we cannot stay in this house anymore. So he took us to the village. We went to stay there for two weeks. Two months until he took us some passport. And then we leave the country.

Where is your dad now?
My dad, I don’t know if he’s still alive or dead.

I am so sorry about that. How that makes you feel?
Well, I can say I feel bad and uh because my father is not here to help me. So I took his place as a man to help my mother and my sister. So I’m just trying to figure a way out that can be like him one day.

So, how was your journey to Europe? So there’s any experience that you would like to share or  difficulties you would like to tell us?

Yeah, like your journey to Europe?

Yeah. Like since when you left school?

Yeah, since when you left home to here, yeah there’s any experience will you like to share with us?
I can say like before I left, left my country, I went to Turkey to come in Greece.

From your county?
From Turkey yeah. I can say people think like in Europe they have everything. Like if you come in Europe you can be rich, you can be happy. But that’s another reality. People that are living here, the people there, they are there in Africa, they think like here is better than there. So I can say most of them want to try to come in Greece. I was really about to die because I was in the boat, in the sea. I can just say people should try to enjoy their life no matter where they are. That’s what I believe I can say.

So, like, how that makes you feel?
Well it makes me feel strong and uh it gives me hope also, like one day I can go back to my country without any fear, but.

So, like, all these things have been through, do you think of yeah, yeah, like do you think of it often?

Like all these things you have been through.

So you think of it.

Like often?
Yeah, I think of it.

Like what time do you think of it?
I think of it most of the time. Most of the time I think about it, sometime when I can’t sleep it just comes to my mind, those ideas I think of it.

So when you think about it, how you feel, how do you feel.
Most of the time I feel depressed. I feel depressed because I feel depressed and I feel so sad because I feel like I’m just here I’m living, but at the same time dying. That’s how I feel. But uh most of the case I just try to find a way that I can get out of this ideas, of this thinking. I just try to find a way.

Okay does this, you yeah does this you situation you face back home yeah. Yeah. Like the situation you face back home normally affect you today?and how?
I can say for what happened in the past.

Does the situation you face back home still affect you today and how?
It still affect me.

Because really I never thought that one day I would leave my country in that way. Understand? Like I was thinking because it was really about to finish school in my country. And since I came here, I just say I was like I was just wasting my time and since because I was thinking, like I would grow up in my country, I would find a job in my country. I would die in my country. Understand? And with the situation that happened, it was required for me to leave the country without by force because I didn’t have a choice so it make me feel all so bad about that.

So okay, so like when you was back home what was your strength?
Well, my strength was my family.

Your family.
My family, because every time when I was going to school was coming back home, in my mind, I was thinking, like uh, there is someone, in my house waiting for me. That what I was thinking.

So now, here in Greece,  what is your strength?
My strength I can say just my mom and my sister, the only hope I have.

Okay. Like when you was back home, what was your dream?
My dream? Well, I had a lot of dream when I was in my country. I wanted to be an informatician-  work with computers. And I really wanted to do it because that’s where my uncle was telling me like, you’re good at it, so you should try to do it one day. After that, I decided to be kind of uh someone that worked in the bank, but I tried to studied about it, but it really didn’t work, so I just gave up.


So, like the day when you was leaving  home, what was your dream for the future?
For future?

It was to become someone greater.

The day when you was leaving home, that day?
My dream just was to find uhh peace.


And now, here, what like, what is your dream?
For now, here, I just can say my dream is to find peace and also find money.

Yeah. So like after five years, what is your dream?
After five years, I see myself in a good life.


So like, how that makes you feel when you have all this thought?
Well it give me hope, would give me also strength because if I don’t fight for it, no one going to do it for me.


So could you ever imagine that you will be able to handle all this situation?
Yeah, I can say I was, and I still, able to handle it.

So, how you be able solve by or get through it?
Well, I can say we say, like, when you think about something a lot of time, if you don’t do nothing, it will not get done. So I just try not to think a lot about it and I try to do something about it. That what I try to do.

So, like what you have been through seems really hard. Do you feel like you have grown in any way as a result of the experience or as yeah anything positive come out of it?
Yes, I can say just grow up in my mind like in this world. If you, if you even my spirit for everything that may happen, you must be ready for everything. Like you never know what’s what, what kind of bad thing can happen to you. So it just give me that I must be ready for everything. That’s it.

So like, so what what are your dreams and the hope for the future?
For the future, I can say, ummm I just wish, I just dreamed, that my mother would get better. She will get well and she could actually walk as she was walking before. And I wish, like, I dream like one day my sister, she would also find a good way, a good life for ourselves. And that’s what for me I just want the better for them. That’s my dream.

Okay, that is great. So, like we really appreciate you answering all these questions
. Yeah.

Is there anything you would like to add that might help that might help the people in Europe like to have a better understanding in the life of yeah okay the refugee here?
Well, I can say most of the refugees are from Africa as well. And from other country, our continent. And I can say to the Africans, like when they came here, they don’t do nothing important. Like they just waste their time. They get money. They don’t do nothing important. So my advice for them is if they don’t try hard for themselves, they’re never going to reach nothing. We say like, that Greece is not a good country. There’s nothing here. But we say as well, like, if don’t try to find our way in this country. You’re gonna, you will never get nothing you get nothing you will never get nothing done. So it is just like uhh they stop. They must stop thinking about that the language is hard. Nothing in this world is easy, if you want to get something done, it must be hard to do it.

So, they just they must just try to think a way like uhh they would change their mind to think in a good way, like they must have hope also between each of them. That’s what we all want. We just think like coming Europe is like coming to heaven. But that is the wrong idea. We have in our mind as we come in Europe is the same like we are in Africa. Life is hard here as well hard out there. So it’s just a fight that depend on yourself. That’s it.

Yeah. So like what you want to tell, like the Europeans.
The Europeans. I can say our story between Africa and Europe, it was not that good in the past. I say like if I’m here today, not because of the politician of my countries, because of them. Understand. So I just can say, like, they just they just try to be kind with us and as well they should just try to leave our own people… live in our own country in peace as we wish, because none of Africa and none of Afghanistan or everyone else want to live in this country… because this country is like is Mother. I say uh that what they can say to them.

Okay thank you so much.

Many 1000 Dreams interviews were not conducted in English. Their translation has not always been performed by professional translators. Despite great efforts to ensure accuracy, there may be errors.