Through the Eyes of a Young Afghan Refugee

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.