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Interview with elderly resident of Coney Island

Interviewee: An elderly Russian-speaking woman waiting in line for food and water in Coney Island. The interview was conducted using simultaneous translation. The audio file was transcribed by the bilingual interpreter.
Interviewer: Shelly Ronen
01/11/13 

Q: Can we ask you a few questions? Do you mind if we record it?

A: Sure

Q: Can we ask you about your experience during the hurricane?

A: I stayed with family on Kings Highway.

Q: Everything was okay there on Kings Highway?

A: Everything was fine there, I was staying there right after I’d had surgery, I stayed there for two weeks. In our building, I live on 30th street, by the fourth day we had everything except telephones. Telephone service we didn’t have for a month and a half.

Q: Who do you live with?

A: I live alone

Q: How are you now?

A: I’m fine I have a home attendant who carries things and I typically don’t take things but she brought me here and said I should come here. But I only came for water.

Q: Just water?

A: Yes, I’m absolutely fine.

Q: These days you have everything?

A: Yes absolutely everything, it’s all back to normal, the apartment wasn’t affected at all because it didn’t rain. Where do you go girls go to school, what is the project about?

Q: We are asking about people’s experiences during the hurricane.

A: I have an acquaintance in Long Island was strongly affected and their entire family had to be rescued with three kids.

Q: In comparison you feel you had a good experience?

A: Here, there were people bringing food every day, I can’t complain. Here there is everything for those that are poor. I don’t usually take anything. Here in America everything is good and the consideration is extraordinary. In America this is always the case. This would never have been the case in Ukraine.

Q: Why do you believe that is the case?

A: The degree of humanitarian care and consideration towards people is incomparable. There was no regard or respect towards elder people in Ukraine. Here I have an apartment. Here there are opportunities and resources available to those who work and put in the effort.

Q: What do you believe the impact of the climate was?

A: Well it’s a function of geography. There could be earthquakes too. People need to be prepared and in this case people were clearly all forewarned.

Q: Is there anything that could have been better or that should be done next time?

A: Well now people might be hesitant about building houses near the water.  But it’s temporarily, they will forget about it. But if you are warned to leave you need to go. There were buses here and there were repeated warnings. To me everything was done well. I’m a person of a higher education even there I received an advanced degree but there was constant discrimination towards me for my nationality (Jew in Ukraine). Everything here is great, my son works and has a family. There is no such discrimination here.

Q: We’re interested in how different gender/race individuals were affected, what is your opinion?

A: All nationalities are treated equally here. Everybody here was helped equally and is always given the same opportunities here in America. There is nothing of the sort of thing I lived through here. In Ukraine that was not the case and people were clearly and commonly discriminated against.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: I am happy with everything here. I have the ability to be with my family but not be dependent upon them. I have been given an apartment and I don’t need help. When I need help or am not well, they are there but I have the means to be independent and support myself.

[end]

Download transcript here.

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