Victor, Liverpool city centre

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How old are you?
I am 45 at the end of the month.

How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
I have sold the magazine for about a year but I was away in hospital for a few months because I had problems with my stomach. Now I am coming back. I have only been selling again for a few days. 

Do you like selling the magazine?
Yes, I enjoy selling it. I sell it to make money for food and things like that. 

Where are you from?
I am from Sri Lanka. I have been in Liverpool for six years and before that I lived in London. I came to the UK in 2002. I left Sri Lanka in a boat and then I hitched my way across Europe to get to the UK. 

Why did you leave Sri Lanka?
I am Tamil and Tamil people were treated very badly by the government. There was no help for us and we fought to get independence. There was a war in Sri Lanka and I was young and I fought as part of the Tamil Tigers. I have a big scar on my shoulder from when I was hit by a bullet in the fighting. In the end I had to run from Sri Lanka. I would have been arrested and killed if I had stayed or tried to go to an airport, so that is why I left on a boat. 

What was the boat like?
There were a lot of people on it. It was very crowded but I am a fisherman and it was OK. I managed to find enough to eat and drink. We were on the boat for a month. 

What happened when you got to London?
I stayed in London for a long time and I started to settle down. I did some work and I had a partner in London and we had a son. But she ran away and I do not see my son anymore. I miss him. I came to Liverpool not long after she ran away. It was difficult. I was very sad and I worried a lot about what had happened in my life and where my life has gone. But when I am selling the magazine I stop worrying and thinking about things. It really helps me.

Are you happy in Liverpool now?
Yes. When I first arrived in Liverpool I had nowhere to stay and I slept rough on the streets but now I stay with a friend. I could not speak English before I came here, but I have learnt by talking to people. There is another Sri Lankan person who sells Big Issue North in Liverpool and it is good to know him. We have a good friendship.

What do you hope for in the future?
For my life to get better. For things to be easier. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
I would like to say thank you very much to people who buy the magazine from me. 

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