Word on the Street

Eva, 26, sells the Big Issue on Broad Street and lives in a tent just outside Oxford.
“I come from the south of Spain and first came to England about three years ago as an Erasmus student. Last year my boyfriend and I had jobs but this year we’ve found that we couldn’t find proper work or pay the rent. All the jobs we’ve found pay a week in hand so how are we supposed to eat and live for that week? So that’s why I sell the Big Issue. I think it’s a really good thing to do because you’re supporting other people like us.
We came here to try and find jobs but we couldn’t so we’re just stuck. We’re trying to raise money to get back to Spain. But I like England. The countryside’s beautiful, but at the moment it’s a bit cold. It’s not for the weather it’s more for the people really! I like the English people but I find in Oxford that their really cold. I don’t know why. In Portsmouth it’s just different. The people are poorer down there, but they treat you really well. When people see me here they cross the road. Girls walk past and hold their bags tightly ‘cos they think I’m going to jump out and take them. It’s really stupid. There’s people that don’t even look at me… I don’t understand why.
I’m trained as a primary school teacher, but in Spain it’s really hard to find a job as a teacher. I’d heard England really needed a lot of teachers, but there’s no equivalent to my Spanish diploma. I’ve had interviews in a few cities last year but they never called me back. So I gave up – I need to eat really. Going to interviews all of the time when people don’t call you back and you have no food or drink…”
ARCHIVE: 2nd Week TT 2003