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It is called “The pizza man” among those who queue at the Swedish Migration Board.
For a few hours each day, he sat there with his portable pizza oven.
– I didn’t expect so much attention, says Niklas Aronsson.
Outside the Swedish Migration Agency in Sundbyberg, he is known as “The Pizza Maker”. He has also been featured on Twitter. For four days this week, Niklas Aronsson has been sitting on the sidewalk with his portable pizza oven and baking pizza.
– It was my wife who immediately noticed that there was a huge number of people here at the Swedish Migration Council queuing up to register. They stayed up from the first night to the afternoon, so something warm was needed, we thought. And I have a pizza oven, so I brought it here, says Niklas Aronsson.
The portable pizza oven that runs on LPG convinced his friend Klas to buy it. In normal cases, Niklas usually uses it when baking their own pizzas at home on the terrace. He now he bakes frozen pizzas – in order to help as many people as possible.
– It’s not really about people who are hungry. Most people live with someone I have perceived and have breakfast there. But what we want is to welcome them to Sweden and the pizza is good and it’s wonderful with hot food when you’ve been out in the cold for a long time, she says.
full screenNiklas Aronsson cooked pizza off the Swedish Migration Board this week and it’s called “The pizza man” Photo: Emma Wallskog
A little note under the pizza
During the week, Niklas distributed around 300 pizzas. For next week he has ordered 1000. On the plates under the pizzas he puts a note with a message that becomes visible only when the pizza is eaten.
– The note says “Welcome to Sweden” in Ukrainian. So when you’re done eating, you see the note and then maybe you feel a little extra welcome here, that’s our plan, says Niklas Aronsson.
It is part of the great effort that the Centrumkyrkan is making in Sundbyberg. His wife Malin Aronsson is the parish priest and says they put out the pizza packs at home at night so they can thaw and go faster to cook later in the day.
– He’s so funny with the pizza guy. When he bought it, I thought it was a boy thing, and what are we going to do with it? But thinks it’s gone so well now, says Malin Aronsson.
On the sidewalk, Niklas continues to cook pizzas.
You’re starting to call yourself “Il pizzaiolo” here. What do you think?
– He’s too sure of himself. I saw a tweet about this too and was very happy, of course. We are many who are cooking now so we are many. But I like it, says Niklas Aronson.
full screen Under each pizza, Niklas puts a note in Ukrainian that says “Welcome to Sweden” Photo: Emma Wallskog
“The pizza chef is really the best”
One of the many passing by is Ludmila, whose five-year-old daughter Eva wants a pizza.
– He really is the best, he does it for us Ukrainians. I mean thank you, she says.
Ludmila and Niklas chat while they wait for the pizza to be ready. Niklas asks if Ludmila has organized accommodation and Ludmila says that she and her daughter Eva came to Sweden on March 9th. They are from the city of Vinnytsia in western Ukraine and Ludmila says they are now living with an absolutely fantastic woman named Veronika.
– It helped me a lot. I love Sweden. This is the safest place my daughter and I can be. I am so incredibly grateful.
Ludmila’s family remains in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.
– It is not as difficult there as in other parts of Ukraine. But there are a lot of bombs and rockets and that’s why I had to protect my daughter and come here, says Ludmila.
full screen Eva, Ludmila’s five-year-old daughter, ate a pizza at Niklas’s. She thought it was good. Photo: Emma Wallskog / Emma Wallskog
Above all, she wants to be in the article to tell how grateful she is for all the help she has received and for all the volunteers outside the Swedish Migration Board. Along the sidewalk there are several humanitarian organizations from various churches and associations. A duo plays and sings “Over the rainbow” for the people who are waiting. Several people gratefully accept the pizza. One of them is Sofia, 11, who is the one who speaks the best English in the family.
– The pizza is good, thank you very much, he says.
Nikla’s wife, Malin Aronson, the pastor of Centrumkyrkan, arrives in her neon yellow reflective vest. Throughout the time RockedBuzz was outside the Swedish Migration Board, she spoke to Ukrainian refugees and helped them recover. There are also several volunteers on site who help with interpretation.
– What we see here is the result of the worst thing man can do, the worst, that people are forced to flee. At the same time, it’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in people coming together and helping. That there is so much goodness that people discover, says Malin Aronsson.
Published: March 20, 2022 at 7:27 pm
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