Farhad, 20 years old, from Aleppo, Syria
“I had three friends who I grew up with. We spent 10 years of our lives together. But now we’ve been separated because of the war, and I miss them very much.”
Farhad was a student of computer science and technology in Syria, and says he is passionate about fixing mobiles and laptops.
“When I get to my new home in Europe, I hope to finish my studies at university so I can work as a computer engineer.”
Farhad was 18 years old when he left Syria, with his mother and four sisters. “Bombs fell over us like rain. Buildings collapsed, and everything was destroyed. We just got in the car and drove away as fast as we could.”
After fleeing Syria, Farhad and his family lived in Turkey for a year. “My mother taught us how to sew, and so we all worked in a clothes making factory, sewing clothes. We didn’t have work permits, so life was always uncertain, and the police were a constant threat. But I learned how to speak Turkish. I bought myself a book and spoke with people as much as I could to practice.”
When life became too difficult in Turkey, Farhad and his family decided to cross over to the Greek island of Lesvos. During the crossing, the boat stopped working halfway, and the 70 or so passengers were picked up by the coastguard. After spending two weeks on Lesvos, the family was moved to a camp in mainland Greece. They have been there ever since, waiting to be relocated to another European country.
“Greece is struggling to host all the refugees. They cannot give us a house, and we are living in the countryside, far from everything, with no transportation to the city. The electricity and hot water are unstable, and not always guaranteed. The conditions are quite bad, but to be honest, it’s better than Turkey. The food given by the military is terrible, but my mother cooks the best dishes with the limited resources we have, so we eat well at least.”
“For me the worst thing is not the food, the cold, the tents, or even the bad medical services. The worst thing is the uncertainty. Every day we wonder where we will be sent to. Our relocation interview is in 3 months, but then we will probably have to wait longer to know where we will go. If I knew how long we had to wait, it would make life easier because we would know when we are leaving. If I knew which country we will be sent to, I would start now to learn the language of the country, so I can start studying and working as soon as I get there. But now we’re just waiting and waiting and waiting.”
Photos: Clara Veale / Story: Voices of Refugees