By Ahmet Abdulaziz….
It was dark when I saw the Pizza Delivery Man parking his motorbike in front of our apartment. It was drizzling with rain as he opened the box of his bike and took out a pizza, well covered in a plastic bag. He rushed into the building and climbed up the stairs to deliver the hot pizza to the customer.
Though his raincoat, plastic gloves and waterproof cap was sufficient to keep him safe from the rain, I sensed that he was shivering inside. Almost every day I come across pizza delivery men, weaving through the traffic, to deliver pizza or food to customers as soon as possible.
I decided to wait for him, I wanted to speak to him. He returned back in a couple of minutes. However he promised to talk to me some other time, as he had had to rush back to the restaurant, where he was employed, to deliver another packet to a customer.
A couple of days back I saw him once again. This time the weather was better. He waved and came over to me. We spoke for a couple of minutes, as he did not have much time. However in these couple of minutes I once again listened to the story of a hardworking foreign worker in the TRNC.
He is originally from a poor family in one of the Turkish states of the former USSR. He is the only son of his parents and aged about 30. He has been in the TRNC for the last three years.
He told me that he came to the TRNC on the recommendation of a friend. He wanted to have a better life than in his country of origin. He said it was really difficult to survive in his country, as the economic situation was particularly bad for the poor. As in every capitalistic economy, the poor constantly become poorer or remain poor. So that was the reason he wanted to try his luck in some other country.
America has usually been referred to as a country of great opportunities, but of course, it is not possible for everyone to go there. The same was the case with him. The TRNC was going to be a country of opportunities for him.
He came to the TRNC, after paying a large amount to his friend, who was acting as the agent. He had to sell most of his belongings to pay to the agent. However, ultimately his friend succeeded in getting him an invitation to work in the TRNC.
Arriving in the TRNC he started working as a truck driver in a local distribution company. Sharing accommodation with fellow workers, he managed to accumulate sufficient money to pay for air tickets for his old father, wife and two year old son. His mother had died earlier. It was not possible for him to leave his father back home.
Now in the TRNC, his old father is not able to work. His wife does not know Turkish or English. Thus for the time being it is difficult for her to find a reasonable job. Yet she has started doing cleaning work at various places.
As he told me, life is still very difficult. He is working as a part-time pizza delivery man, after finishing his main occupation as a truck driver. Now as his family is here, his expenses have increased a lot. The house rent is what he considers as too expensive for him. Most of his salary goes to pay his house rent. Since his wife is going out to work he has to send his two year old son to a baby-sitter, which again means spending another chunk of his earnings. The bills and food consume the rest of the money that he and his wife can manage to earn.
Life is very difficult, yet he considers that he is able to do his best to explore opportunities in the TRNC.
I know he is not the only one in the TRNC who is experiencing this. There are hundreds of other workers mostly from third world countries, who consider the TRNC as the land of opportunities.
Of course it is.