Through the Eyes of an Afghan Refugee Father

Through their eyes refugee father's story

My name is Fahim and I am from Afghanistan.  I am thirty-five years old.  This is some of my story:

I have a wife and had two kids.

My seven year old boy died in accident when we lived in Afghanistan.

The Taliban increased and made our city unsafe.

They threatened me and my family.

Me, my wife, and one year old daughter fled to Moria,

To start a new life.

Afghan man fleeing Taliban finds refuge Lesvos refugee family

There was a storm when we took a small raft out to the island.

My wife and daughter are afraid of water from our journey.

Moria was not a good place.

Men would come into our tents at night and take our things;

They would fight with knifes much of the time.

This new camp is better;

It is more safe.

The volunteers are nice and police do good work.

Families move-in and move-out from our tent;

A sheet divides my family of three from the other family of six.

Now my wife is pregnant.

I built more space for our tent, so my wife could have a place to cook.

I wait in the food line for my family three times a day.

I am thankful for the food,

And for a place to live.

All I want for the future is a healthy family and better life.

Beautiful day over Lesvos Island tents

Their story Afghan refugees

My name is Fatimah.  I am twenty-five years old and an Afghan currently residing at the refugee camp on the island of Lesvos, Greece.  Here is a little of my translated story: 

I wake up early in the morning due to the coldness of my body.  I wrap the few blankets we have to cover up my two little children. They are four and six.  Oh how I wish for a good life for them – a safe future.

Afghan family mom kids refugees

Though, this is safer than Afghanistan My husband goes to get into the foodline. It is raining, it is muddy, it is cold, it is windy. He puts on his raincoat and slips on his boots. He waits and waits in the food line, eating the same thing everyday.  The kids are awake and we fold our blankets up.  I turn on the battery run camping light.  The electricity is not dependable.  We are lucky when we have the electricity in our small tent.

There is a blanket that divides our family and another family of five.  I plug in our kettle to make chai tea.  I add four scoops of sugar.  I hold my cup close to me to warm my hands.  Oh how I wish for a warm, dry house one day.  I step outside my tent now that the rain has slowed down.  I squat down as I brush my teeth into a river of water and mud.

We eat our breakfast and I wash the dishes in a bucket outside our tent.  The sun is coming out so I wash our clothes in the bucket and hang them out to dry.  Our tent is ruined due to the wind.  We need more tarps.  We need more rope.

Handmade bread at Moria refugee camp in Lesvos GreeceCovid Eurorelief workers help refugees Lesvos Moria Greece

We go to Eurorelief Info Point and talk to the translator that translates from Farsi to English.  There is a young American girl with blue eyes.  “Tent number 667. The wind has ruined our tent. Can we please have a tarp and rope?”  The American girls says, “I’m so sorry but we don’t have any to give out. We can put your tent number on the maintenance list and we will get to your tent as soon as possible.”

Disappointed . . .  Angry . . .  All we need is rope and a tarp!  How can I live like this?  I’ve been in this camp for 9 months.  All we hear is, “I’m sorry. We don’t have.”  When will we get to leave this place?

I get a seven and half minute hot shower once a week.  I get to leave this camp once a week for three hours.  This isn’t living.  This is just surviving.  But I must keep being strong.  For my children!  I hope one day they will go to school and learn English.  And they can play safely.  Oh I am holding onto the hope of their future.  Soon, I hope so very soon.  So day by day, I will keep surviving here.

 

Island of Lesvos tents for refugees Lesvos Greece

My name is Mehreen. I am 9 years old and I am from Afghanistan. But we had to leave, so right now I am living on an island in Greece. This is a little of my story:

Snuggled up to my mom, I woke up and crawled out of our tent. Tent 196, that’s my home. I dusted off my shoes and put them on. Today is my favorite day,دوشنبه, Monday, that means I have school today! Mom and Dad have to go stand in the food line, so I head over to talk with my friends at Info Point. They’re from America, Germany, The Netherlands… I love practicing my English with them! I draw on some of their notes, practice writing their names and my name, they smile.

At 10:45 it is time for me to walk to the school tent! My teacher is there and greets me in my own language, “سلام“ she says. I respond in English, “Hello, how are you?” and take off my shoes outside the tent. We all sit on the colorful blankets laid out and wait for the rest of the students to come. I take my pencil out of my backpack and am ready to learn! We always start class with a song! We all sing together: “Hello, hello how are you? Hello, hello how are you? Hello, hello how are you? How are you today?” and then we get to answer and I sing, “I am fine, I am great! I am fine, I am great! I am fine, I am great! I’m very good today”. After all, today is my favorite day.

PI volunteers serving at Moria refugee camp Lesvos Greecepost-it-note picture drawing from Afghan child refugee

Today we are learning English words for weather. Teacher Rita holds up papers with pictures on them and tries to get us to guess the words, I know all of them in Farsi, but only a few in English so far. But that’s okay, Teacher Rita would help us and show us how to pronounce the words. I learned words like “sun, moon, stars, cloud, rain, storm, rainbow”. Our alphabet looks very different, so it takes me a while to sound out the words. We colored rainbows, matching colors to the English color words. Rainbows are very pretty, we saw one in the sky yesterday after the rain and wind stopped. Yesterday we stayed in our tent all morning waiting for it to stop raining!

Teacher Rita gives us a homework sheet to match the words to the pictures. She says goodbye as we all put back on our shoes. Now it’s time to go see what my Mom and Dad got from the food line today! Almost everyday we get oranges, they are my favorite. Back in our tent we eat together and I tell my parents all about school.

I am hopeful to someday be reunited with my cousins in Germany. Please pray that my family will stay healthy and gain asylum soon! Pray for me and my friends as we are learning English, pray that soon we will be able to go to real schools again.

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FEBRUARY 2021

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In the mid-eighth century, the Uyghur people inhabited part of present-day Mongolia. Around A.D. 840 they were attacked from the north by the Kyrgyz, and fled southwest to their current homeland: most live in the Xinjiang (pronounced Shin-jang) province in northwest China.

 

Photo credits:Kevin Frayer, Getty

 

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