Cornelius,
Aldi, Salford

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I turned 45 at the end of September and I am from Romania originally. I left so that I could find work. Romania is a nice place, but I had no job, no money. After I left Romania I lived in Barcelona for 15 years and I worked in construction, but then the work finished and I couldn’t afford to stay there. Then I lived in Paris for two years and I worked in recycling and scrap metal there. Now I have lived in Manchester for two years.

‘Even if I had nothing, I would still have my family’

Do you like Manchester?
Yes, I like it here. But when I first arrived I saw only clouds and rain and I was worried about the weather here. There was one week where it rained every day. In Spain there was no rain for months at a time.

How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
Since coming to the UK. I like selling the magazine. I am working, earning money for food, for rent and for my family. I am also speaking nicely to people. It is good to smile and say hello and good morning to people, and my customers are very nice. I would like to get a different job, maybe in construction again, but my English needs to improve. I try to practice my English when I sell the magazine and I am learning every day.

Tell us about your family.
I have a wife and six children. My eldest child is 27 and my youngest is 14. I also have 13 grandchildren. Some of my children and grandchildren live here in the UK, but one of my daughters lives in Spain and another in Germany. I miss them all very much.

What do you do in your spare time?
When I am not working, I relax. I watch television, I watch the news and look after
my family. We buy a bottle of Coca-Cola once a week and share it between us for a treat. We have a barbeque every week as well, even when it is raining. We just use an umbrella. I like to cook food outside in my garden.

What makes you happy?
My family. I might not have any money and no time, but even if I had nothing, I would still have my family. They are very important to me. I have the names of all my children and my wife tattooed on me, on my arms and on my chest.

What makes you sad?
The fact that I am getting older and that time is moving so fast now. I would like to see my grandchildren grow up but I worry that I will not see that happen. My father died last year at the age of 66 and I worry that is not a long time away for me. I miss him very much.

What do you hope for in the future?
To know all the family are settled and safe in their homes. For them to be happy.

Are you a positive person?
Yes I am. I keep smiling. I never give up.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you for buying the magazine every week.

Interpreting: Cristian Politic

Interact: Responses to Cornelius, Aldi, Salford

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