George Alagiah interviews us on the BBC
Tuesday 11 September 2007
Full story to follow...
Alex Horne - 11th September 2007
On my birthday entry I mentioned that I was following up a lead for a friend of a friend I'd met at that friend's wedding. I finally tied up that loose end today. And actually, that original, now married friend is a guy called Day (yes, Day) who actually inspired this whole thing and who Owen and I are incredibly grateful to. And that friend of his is a guy called James who I would now count as a friend too. Good. He works for the foreign office (usually in Syria) and gave me the number of someone who works for a charity called the Amal Trust, whom he'd met at the British Embassy some time ago.
Unfortunately I didn't say all that when I first spoke to Samia on the phone. I just said, 'Hello. I'm a friend of James. Can I meet you?' after which she was justifiably suspicious. Thankfully when I phoned back later with more details of my alleged friendship she kindly agreed to meet me outside Bayswater station after her work the next day.
Samia has been in London for twelve years now and is a lot more streetwise than me. Keen not to take up too much of her time I started our chat on the street by the station entrance. 'Shall we sit down somewhere?' she suggested sensibly. 'Erm... well... I don't want to hold you up...' I spluttered. 'Let's just go to MacDonalds', she said. So we did, and sat down at a table downstairs WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING. 'Brilliant', I thought. 'Good decision'.
'I consider London my home now', she said during the very comfortable conversation that followed. Her family all came over together in 1995, her parents to work, herself to learn English, and after studying in Eastbourne she's been in London ever since.