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Abdul, 30 years old, from Aleppo, Syria

“We’re not bad people. We’re not robbers or animals,” says Abdul, his green eyes full of emotion. “I like to work.”

When Abdul, his wife, Abir, and their three young children arrived at a refugee camp in Greece in March, they thought they’d spend just 2-3 days here before joining family members in Germany. Abdul, who worked for years as a marble ceramicist in Equatorial Guinea and speaks fluent Spanish in addition to three other languages, paid most of his life savings to smugglers (“la mafia”) for the family’s passage to Lesvos. The rest was soon spent on food, as they arrived weeks before any organized meal distributions began.

That was 7 months ago, and the family’s first asylum interview doesn’t take place until December. In the meantime, Abdul tries to keep his children healthy through the cold, rain, and heat of the changing seasons while assisting with carpentry projects in the camp.

“I didn’t come here to sit around,” he says.


Photo & Story: Allison Voigts

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