Daniel, Birkdale, Southport

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from Bucharest in Romania and I am 46 in June.

How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
Two years, maybe three. The first time, I sold The Big Issue in London, but not for long. And then I came to Liverpool. 

Why do you sell the magazine?
I used to work on building sites, in construction, gardening and in factories. But when I was working on a building site in Germany I fell and broke my back. I was in hospital for many months and I now have metal in my back and I cannot lift very much. I sell the magazine to make some money. I have money just for a few things. When I do not have enough money to eat I put my phone or something in a place like Cash Converters to get some more. And then when things get better I can buy it back and so on.

What is Bucharest like?
It is a good place for tourists but it’s not a good place to live. And I cannot go back to Romania, because I borrowed a lot of money from a man and now I have to pay him back with more and I cannot. 

Do you have a family?
I have a daughter. She turns 14 this year. I am divorced and my daughter lives in Bucharest with my mother. She understands why I cannot come back.

What was your childhood like?
I had a good childhood. I wish I could give my child a better life, like the one I had, but I cannot. I struggle to survive here. Sometimes my mother has to send me money to live. I think positive – maybe next month is better, maybe next year. 

Where are you living at the moment?
I have a small flat in Southport and I live there on my own. When I first came to the UK I had nowhere to stay. I slept rough in London and in Liverpool and even in Southport. A Catholic sister in Liverpool gave me a tent and a sleeping bag and I slept in that as well for a while. It was difficult sleeping outside because of my back. It is great to have a flat now. 

What do you do in your spare time?
In the summer I dress up as Pikachu from Pokémon and walk around in Southport, and sometimes in other cities, like Manchester and Liverpool. It makes people happy and it’s a kind of street performance that I do. I do this at weekends and then during the week I sell the magazine. It’s a big costume and very hot inside in the summer. 

What languages can you speak?
I can speak German, English, Italian and Romanian obviously. I learnt to speak different languages through the television, from my armchair. It’s simple. I am good at languages. 

What makes you happy?
I am happy when I go to work. People are very kind with me.

Do you have a message for your customers?
God bless you.

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Big Issue North during the Coronavirus pandemic

We have taken the difficult decision to tell our vendors that they cannot sell Big Issue North on the streets during the Coronavirus pandemic, for the safety of the public and themselves.

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