Refugee story: A small family – the war decided everything
We are a small family from Syria. I studied law at University of Aleppo and my husband studied engineering at University of Homs. The war happened in Syria. This is the reason we decided to leave Syria. It’s very difficult to leave your home and your parents but we didn’t have a choice. We had to leave.
The first step for us in 2013 was to go to Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan) and we lived in Erbil for 3 years. Then we decided to go to Turkey because we wanted to go to Europe.
We found it more difficult when we travelled to Turkey because we had no passports and we had to pass the border without the government knowing, and we had to pay more money to the person who helped us pass the borders until we arrived in Turkey.
At night, it was darker than when I left my home the second time. It was very difficult when we arrived at the border. I saw a big mountain we had to climb. This high mountain that was up and down and it was like that for 8 hours. Yes, we walked 8 hours, not only walking but we had to climb the mountain. It was very hard and we suffered a lot. My baby slept with my husband holding him. Then it started raining and there was a storm. What could we do? Actually, we could do only one thing. We had to complete it. At 5 o’clock in the morning we arrived at Turkey and the Turkish army came and arrested us. Yes, they arrested my baby and me and my husband and put us in a big room. It was a dangerous place and to our surprise we saw more people from Syria who had passed the border in the same way and arrested by the army.
More than a hundred Syrian people were arrested and all the families slept together and they all had to use the same toilet and you had to wait hours until you could go inside. I saw another woman crying because she couldn’t get into the toilet and she had to wait a long time. You couldn’t buy food because it was so expensive. The Turkish army gave people food but there wasn’t enough.
After 16 days, we paid money and went out from this strange place. I stayed one week in the hospital with my baby and I was also pregnant. But I lost my unborn baby at the hospital.
Then we completed our travels. We went to Izmir and we stayed one week until we crossed the sea and arrived in Greece.
I will never forget when we stayed 3 hours at night in the sea. Yes, we stayed in the boat 3 hours, my family, my husband and my baby. I was crying a lot and so was my baby but we could do nothing. I was thinking we will die because the driver of the boat told us we had a problem with the boat and maybe we wouldn’t make it to the other side. Then the water began to come inside the boat and we were all very afraid. There were a lot of people on the boat, I think 50 people in one small boat.
Really, it was an intense experience for me. Now my husband told me I had to wear a life jacket. I refused to wear it because my baby couldn’t. I can’t live without my baby and I can’t see my baby go into the sea and me stay afloat. It was difficult. Everyone was wearing life jackets and I didn’t. Oh, I can’t explain what happened exactly, it was very difficult.
After 3 hours the Greek army came to help us and we were very happy. The soldier said, “Give me your son, don’t worry, give me your hand, don’t worry, we will help you until you get to the island.”
We were very happy because the army came to help us and it’s good we didn’t die. Now we have a new life and we have to complete our journey.
This is life: sometimes up and sometimes down. We have to be patient. To be or not to be, that is what I’m learning.
Now we live in Alexandreia camp. We are suffering a lot because it is very difficult to live in a tent when you used to live in a house but we have no other option. We just have to accept it. We can’t refuse because we are refugees. Now not a lawyer, not an engineer, now nothing. I’m sorry but this is true. Five months like this and no way out.
Why? Why? I ask but I’ve never had an answer. One official person told me that I decided to be in this situation. I told him I didn’t decide. The war decided everything.
Paul Hutchings, the founder, took a sabbatical from his market research business in April 2016 to run Refugee Support Europe with co-founder John Sloan. Frustrated with the poor response of Europe to the enormity of this humanitarian crisis, he just had to do something and has been inspired by the commitment and enthusiasm of people around the world who have felt the same.
Learn more about Refugee Support and their work: