Human Question: Interview with Pablo Fernandez
Duration: 01:00:00; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 30.013; Saturation: 0.154; Lightness: 0.316; Volume: 0.071; Cuts per Minute: 2.483; Words per Minute: 65.641
Summary: Rushes from the documentary "A Human Question"
Shots of Cori Walking, shopping, and brief small talk before Pablo interview
Pablo Fernandes introduces himself as the director of a self-support project for migrants, called Welt Kuche or World Kitchen.
Q : Tell us about yourself.
About myself? My name is Pablo Fernandes and I come from Spain. I've lived in Germany since 20 years, almost 20 years. And I am working now in, as, how can I say, as director, or Manager of a self-support project for migrants. They're living in Berlin with HIV and AIDS. The name of the project is Welt Kuche translated in English means World Kitchen, World Kitchen is the right name.
My name is Pablo Fernandes, and I come from Spain. I live in Berlin, Germany since 20 years. I came here 20 years ago. And I don't know, I have studied German economy, and actually at the moment we are, I'm in, a kind of director of a project for migrants,most of the people, they're living in Berlin with HIV and AIDS. Self-support project with the name Welt Kuche, which means something like World Kitchen.
World Kitchen is a project for HIV positive migrants in Berlin, Germany
hiv positive migrants
Talks about what the World Kitchen does and how it functions.
(Q : What does the World Kitchen do?) The World Kitchen is a project working, as the names says, working in, in...so we, we make, the principle of the project is, the idea of the project is, people coming from different countries, they cook, they make a kind of food typical of their countries. As example, we have somebody coming from Cambodia, she cooks Cambodian food. Or somebody from South America, from Mexico, Central America, he cooks Mexican food. And this is what, basically what we do. We started with a event, weekly, one day in the week, each Wednesday. For very, low budget thing, we sell a menu for people in a house, people they live in this house, they are people with HIV or AIDS, for very little money, 3 Euros per meal. And so it started 4 years ago. Meanwhile, it's, a lot of people come into this event. Not only people they are living in the house, but people from the neighbourhood, so we became bigger and bigger. Became famous, more or less. And the next idea was, if the people come to us because, I mean, their reason because, people come to us is because the food is not only cheap, it's very tasty, it's really good. Then could we make sense to make, to organise, like, catering service? The principle of this catering service, the idea is that we offer the same food but from everywhere in the world. And this is what the other, in the second sense that we are doing in our project now. Not only this food for this 3 Euros, but this catering.
cheap and tasty food
(Q : And this catering is for anybody in Berlin who wants it?) Yes, and this is open. I mean, this food on Wednesdays is also open. We never close it. We never had the idea to, to go apart from, for the people. Because, of course I have to say this, most of the people, they are working there are people, they are HIV positive. And this is the reason. Because we get this restaurant at this house, but we try to show the people that they can eat food or meals. That were pepared for people who are HVI positive and they don't have afraid, they don't have to be afraid of...that it is not. There was little risky element in the beginning. There were really people, they came, or they didn't came, because they had fear. And after 4 years we are doing this, nobody ask about this. Nobody, nobody thinks about this. Or I think they don't realise, or they think more about people that are cooking there are HIV positive or not.
The World Kitchen is open to anyone every Wednesday. Most of the people working there are HIV positive.
(Q : You have people coming mostly from where?) In the project? We have from everywhere in the world. Most of them are African, because we, I mean, we get the people, we contact the people in many ways. One of them is when...BREAK
Discusses the catering service of Welt Kuche, how people or organizations contact them, and the unique features of their global menu.
(Q : How does the catering service operate? Do people call you?) Yes. Yes, we work like a normal catering service. I mean normal, it's normal, ok. But the most people, they call us, they know where we are, they get information from our website, for example. And we have an office. We have an, we put on our website the menus of the food, the courses that we offer. People choose them, and call us, or sometimes they ask if we have a proposal or an offer to do and we have two or three organisations. They regularly ask for catering from us, because they do offer, they have congress or they invite people from, from outside, from other countries. And they want to have something exotic. I mean, this is the, this is the special thing in the Welt Kuche, because we offer a kind of food that another, the other caterings don't, they don't do it. Because normally people want Italian food, or Spanish food, all what they want, Cambodian food or, I don't know, Guinea or for Nigeria, they don't know this. It is supposed to be, people they are, they are, they have the courage to taste it or to try with new things, with new things, another kind of food. And this first line organisations which deal something with migration, they have something with migration. Or sometimes we have another organisations, they are working in the field of AIDS, HIV and AIDS. But not only that works, it works only in the beginning, then we begin, then we start to get calls from people, they, I don't know, where they heard about us. Like, I would say it's amazing. Because they heard that our food was very good.
Describes the operations of the World Kitchen --both the catering service and Wednesday night dinners.
(Q : You're busy ___) Yes, yes. More or less. I mean, summer is a shitty time for catering. But the other even is in, is every Wednesday we are doing this. (Q: How many cooks?) How many people? It depends. You mean for the catering? It depends on how big is the, yes. I don't know, it's 3 or 4 people, 2 of them are the main cooks. The one who brings your recipes and your own food, and the other people are helping. We have somebody who brings the food, carry the food to the places, because we have a car. And the other place, on Wednesday, it's so much, much more nicer, because the people are like, 10 or 11, which sometimes is too much. And they are, all, almost all people they are working at the Welt Kuche, usually they come in there to work, but only for fun. And this is a voluntary work. They don't get nothing. They don't get money for this. People they are working at the catering, yes. We have contracts with them, and...
wednesday night dinners
Discusses the immigrants who work at Welt Kuche, the problems they face as HIV positive immigrants, in terms of work permission and German immigration policies.
(Q : How open are people to this idea?) But you mean, for the people they are working there? Not for the people that are coming to us. Yes, it was very, it is still being brave now because there is a thing, the problems that's important to know is that the regulations, the regulations for aliens in Germany or in Berlin because it's different in... regions in Germany they have different regulations for aliens, says that if you are living here and you are HIV positive, you can stay here for humanitarian reasons, because some, some of them they start with the medicines, the art. So I suppose if they will be...deportated to their county, I suppose, they will, it doesn't have the possibility to continue with this therapy. So this is the reason because they get the permission to stay here, for how many time nobody knows. But the, a big problem for these people, I mean these people because I don't have this problem. I'm standing here, and it's different, my life here comparing with the man that's coming from Africa, of course, is that they are allowed to stay here. But they can do nothing. They can do nothing. It's like living here like so, like plants, and it was very frustrating. There was a time I was working at a local organisation here in Berlin, for people living with HIV and AIDS. And I saw it. Many migrants, and their problem was not so much the infection, or the sick, the illness, but their lives here, how they were living here. How they, they feel like...I do not know, actually. Like...people. Yes, they don't want, and they don't find their place in the society, because they can't, because they are not allowed to, to something basic like get a job. And many of them, most of them, they are able, and they want to do something, because they get their pills, and they get better and they would like to make something with their lives. But they can't, they cannot, they are not allowed to. And so what's the idea? That, I mean, if people are working voluntarily, for nothing, every Wednesday, there is no law to can...they can stop this. Yes. It's not illegal. But even if, there are other people who are working at the catering service, and they are, their regulation is different from many countries, depending if you are, it's very complicated. Depending, if you get married here with a German, then you get the permission for work, and some of them, they have this. And they want they're allowed to work. But even if they can work, it's very difficult to get a work permission. So this is the reason because they, coming back to your question, because they like the idea, and this has allowed them to feel useful, to feel...doing something in this German, in this Berlin, German society.
german immigration policies
hiv positive immigrants
Talks about medicines and denial OF work permission
(Q : Yes, I've heard from many people that the problem is not the medicines, it's what they'll do here...) Yes, absolutely. It's my, it's my opinion too. I mean, of course you have to get this medicines because it's the tool to get you a life. But if you can be alive and still absolutely miss, or...
denial of work permission
german immigrant policy
Discusses how and why he got involved in the Welt Kuche project.
(Q : How did you get involved in this?) How? Because I mean, I am HIV positive myself, and I want to, to do something voluntary in this field, and with my grants. Because I knew, not about my experience, but yes, a little bit about my experiences, foreigners, I mean, not only in Germany but in other continents. Well, they are the one of the people who live in disadvantage, comparing with the people who, (inlander? How do you say this?) the people from Germany. This experience of mine started in the time I was studying here, and I saw, my god, must be terrible for people, they get sick here, or get HIV positive, living with this disadvantage as foreigners. And then having to cope with this, with this problem. And this is the, this was my aim, my motivation to do this. And then I came into contact with the local organisation here. And I, this was a good experience because I knew a lot of people. Most of them, they are working still, at the WELTKÜCHE. So it wasn't only like a theoretical thing, of like this, I'm with a person and I would like to do this. But I heard from the people the problems, like they are. And this is a really, this was a very strong motivation for me. And this was the start of this project. And it's very important to know that they give me the idea, because it's nothing that I get by myself, because I saw how good they cook. As example, I came to this idea, they are so great. I mean, it's a waste, people they were able to do things, they are allowed to do nothing. So...
Discusses the successes of the Wednesday night dinners at the Welt Kuche.
(Q : When you meet on Wednesdays, do you also talk about other issues?) Yes. Yes. I mean, not during the work. Because, I mean, every Wednesday, there are coming 60 or 70 people to have a meal. So we have, it's really like a restaurant. But I don't know, it's not that we have so much to talk about. But the feeling that you are doing a common work is so much stronger than this. I was, at the beginning, as I started with this work or this organisation, I was very frustrated. I was frustrated because I, I feel like we have so many conference meetings, and it was like blah blah blah for nothing. And I'm a practical person. I really prefer to do something, and when you are with, doing something with people, they are so different. Because some of them they don't speak German, they speak only French. And I don't speak French. It's not really easy to communicate with them. So it's so much better if you're doing something. Sometimes you just have to get, throw all the things this way. But it works. It works. Because you're doing something and you get, you get a resolve, you get...food has to be ready at 7 p.m. And people come into food, and they come in, a lot of them. They like to, they like this, they take the side of the people, oh it was wonderful today, and it's like, (sighs)
wednesday night dinners
Discusses issues with confidentiality with the migrants who work at the World Kitchen. Talks about stigma and interactions with different cultures.
(Q : Do you feel infected people are ready to come out and be seen at your place?) But you mean, talking about HIV or another issues? (Q : HIV. Some people said there's still a lot of stigma in Kenya, and...) Hmm, African countries. I don't know. It's different. It's different, it depends from, I don't want to say from the country, that is too general, I don't think, it's worse to speak in these terms and I don't agree with this. People is very different. Some of the people I work with, they really wouldn't like to speak about this, not speak, but, I mean, you have to consider that when people came to this place and seen people cooking there - it's open space - then they can, of course, think, oh they're HIV. Not, the other side not all of them, not all people working in Welt Kuche is HIV positive. And we would pretend, we would like to do so to protect the people they are. So it's not about stigmatisation. It's because I think people have the right to keep this simple for themselves. Especially if they are working in a project with migrants living with HIV and AIDS. And, but the other side, I'm amazed at how people like these African women, about African women you hear, especially in these local, when you say in Berlin, or another German, they have fear to say this and that, they're coming from other countries with their own culture, they don't allow them to integrate here. And I don't agree with this. Either because there were some of them - they are so open with, it's not only a question that we are HIV positive. It's a question that we are gay people, we have 3 or 5 lesbian women working there, we have African women there. Probably they have never before contact with lesbians or gays. I mean they had probably, but they did not. And it's like never in mind, it's ok. We are working there. Here we are working with der Schwulenberatung (advice organisation for gay people). This is a counsellor organisation for gay men in Berlin and I don't feel like it's really a problem. I mean, they accept this, or I think they accept their own way, not probably talking about this, how Europeans probably do, but they can live with. And I think, I like, I find this system as a very positive thing.
advice organization for gay people
migrants living with hiv/aids
Discusses migrants living with HIV/AIDS and treatment.
(Q : For how many years have people been coming for treatment?) I don't know, I can't say. I can tell you, I start working with migration and AIDS, it was 1998. And since then, it became...people I knew and, or still I know, and they live here, migrants living with HIV and AIDS. They are, they get more and more and more, but it doesn't mean that...when I began with this work, anti-AIDS, they didn't access, they did...probably some of them they didn't know this, or they didn't dare to go to the organisation and ask for them and...I don't know, really the, the question of migrants as clients for local administrations or as subject, as issue of local health politics becomes so much bigger since 5 or 4 years ago. At the beginning , nobody talked about it, it was like, and now it's a, really it's a very important topic.
local health politics
migrants living with hiv/aids
Talks about how many of the people at World Kitchen have family and how many live alone. Most are alone.
(Q : Are the people you work with by themselves or with their families?) Are you talking now about people from the very, they're working with me together, or, not only them, the people they come on Wednesday, them I know. Most of them, they came alone, they are still living here alone. So what is, it's very hard for, especially for people coming from Africa, we have many more African women. They have their whole families in Africa, or in their countries. So they came here as individuals to get this medicines, to get the treatment. It's important to know that, I mean, they're, most people they quit this, I mean people that work with a good medical situation in their countries, so they are, it was then easier to come here, or they have contacts, they know people here living in Berlin that invite and to come here, and to start art. So, but even if they came here with this reason, to stay here, to get therapy, they...almost of them came alone. And there were also people that were living here in Germany. And they knew that they were infected. And this changed their lives, but it wasn't the reason they came here. In this case, it almost, or it's probably that they get their family, or their friends, that they are living here.
Describes the connections and friendships people make in the World Kitchen.
(Q: Do you know if the people keep in touch when they don't cook together?) Yes, yes. It is. Yes. Yes, I mean, it was, not only because they were cooking together, but because of people they are coming together to have a meal, to eat there. It's...that's made that possible a lot of contacts and new friendships. Not only between the people they are working together, as I say, but the people they are coming, like our project we have a lot of voluntary, people they are working voluntary they are Germans too, and this is a very positive aspect of this. Joining people from here and from there, and yes, it's like, came to friendship, came to marriage (laughs) No, not to marriage. Yes, sure.
Further discusses the interactions in the World Kitchen community
(Q: A new international community...) Yes, yes. Of course sometimes it's not easy to bring people together, and there is a, like everywhere there are people working as if they don't like each other. But if you're only working with them, you don't have...it's probably...maybe a good thing of the project. You don't have to speak if you don't want, if you don't like the other people, you're able to...silent.
new international community
Discusses the LANGUAGE problems that can arise in the World Kitchen community. Also discusses immigration policies.
(Q : Many people from different backgrounds come together...) Yes. You know, I quit this meetings, I mean, I find this important to get together, to talk of course, not only work work. But at the beginning, we have only these meetings and conversations, and there is a lot of people, they didn't quite follow this, because it's not their language, and this is such (sighs). And they have to try to explain this in French, and then in Spanish, and in English. And then, we just had to stop that. And it's, I don't know, it can sound amazing, but we just had to speak German. German people, the language that join us here, and the most of us they can it. I can agree when people from other employers talk at us, oh they cannot the language, and we have to try to do efforts to understand with them in their own language. I said, I don't believe this. Because, of course some people they, they cannot German. And you have to really to work to talk with them in English or another language. But people they are really...had the courage to left the countries, to come to another country. I mean, this experience of migration supports so much involvement, supports so much courage. These kind of people, they can do anything, that is my conviction, they can do really anything. And they can, anything means also, learn a language. I mean, that is nothing, compared with their live, that they have experienced before, not only before, that they have still have in their every time, everyday, because it's very hard to live in the society they don't, they're showing you continually, we don't want you, we are having you here because you are sick, because you are ill, and I mean, it's changing now. They're trying now to gain permission to the state here for humanitarian reason, it's becoming more and more difficult. They're trying to change this now. So because of, of course, what I'm trying to say that migration is a very, it's not only a tragical experience. I cannot agree with this. I mean, I know it my own experience. Experience that you can keep you strong to cope with many problems. HIV is one of them.
Discusses the law surrounding HIV positive immigrants and work permission, and how it impacts migrants who work at Welt Kuche.
(Q : If the law changes, will the people who are already here be sent back?) Ya, seems so, yes. This is because, because we, I mean, one goal of the program, but it is very difficult goal to get, is that one way to stay here is if you get a job permission, if a work permission. This is really almost the only way. So we have, we are living in Europe or in Germany, situation that this country need migrants. Of course, they want really very specifical kind of migrants. Many of them Indians, they can computer, their computing jobs or something else they can do. And our idea was to try to show that their, another abilities or skills, they are also necessary so for society. Like catering service. I mean, people have to eat. And it's really great potential when people of, from there, for them nobody could think or suppose, they cannot do nothing, they can, they can do this. And they should stay here for this, for this work. I mean, I'm talking about work as tool to get the permission. I don't, I'm not trying to say that everybody should do this. Of course, people they don't like this. Or they feel weak. And then they are not able to do this. But some of them, industry people, they are working our project, or people they are searching for. They have this proposal to, ok I want to do this, I want to work, and I'm not a sick person. Being HIV positive does not mean I am sick, doesn't mean, even doesn't mean I will die in 10 or 20 years. Nobody knows. So I want to do something with my life. And this is the idea.
hiv positive immigrants
Q: Can we film the kitchen?) Of course, certainly. I mean, it's not interesting, looking at me. Because it's just blah blah blah, what I mean.
(Q : Will people have any objections? ) Hmm. That's a good question. Some of them. Some of them.
Discusses filming the World Kitchen and possible issues with confidentiality.
filming the world kitchen
Discussion on the filming of the kitchen
Shots of Pablo at the World Kitchen Office
AIDS Victims Memorial Tablet Shots