About Refugees, By Refugees
Trigger Warning: Death
What kind of housing do you currently live in?
At the moment, I am renting a youth residence and three people live with me.
Can you describe the conditions at the moment?
The situation is very bad. There is no work or jobs. I spend all my time at home and I can’t go out.
How do you spend your time here?
In fact, I stay at home most of the time and I may sometimes go out for a walk.
Tell me about some of the things that might bring you joy.
Work and success.
How did you find life when you arrived in Europe? What is new about being here? What are the difficulties as well?
With regard to difficulties, there were great difficulties, there were many refugees, conditions were bad, problems were many, food was scarce and everything was bad. However, after I got off the island and went to Athens, I got housing from a non-profit organization for eight or nine months and then I left the residence after my official papers were issued.
Can you describe how you feel while living here? Have you ever imagined that you would be able to deal with this situation, how did you manage to overcome it or survive it?
As I told you before, it is difficult but you will get used to it over time. When there is a repetitive routine in your days, your mental health will get worse, but if you find things to occupy your time, this will keep you busy and help you forget.
Do you think you have developed the ability to deal with such challenges, or do you think you have that skill, strength or flexibility? How did the coronavirus affect your daily life?
The coronavirus has not only affected me. It has affected the whole world. It has led to a halt in life, reduced job opportunities, made you unable to even walk on the street, made life seem rigid without any opportunities. Before the coronavirus, there were jobs and a person could work and develop himself, but the current situation with the coronavirus is very difficult for the whole world and not only for me. I hope that a cure will be found for the coronavirus and that, God willing, this crisis we are going through will end.
Why did you leave your country? Can you describe what happened to you?
I left my country for personal reasons, such as wars as well as the bad living conditions.
How did you feel at that time?
When a person decides to go to a new place, especially if it was a strange country that you knew nothing about and did not know whether you are going to succeed or fail, whether you would die or live. There was a great danger as we migrated by sea. When we arrived on the island, there were refugees of different nationalities and religions. You do not know whether they will kill you or leave you alone. This feeling is very difficult for anyone.
During your trip to Europe, was there a particularly difficult experience? Can you tell us about it?
The most difficult experience was traveling by sea. The situation was dangerous and the waves were high. We stayed for two and a half hours in the middle of the sea without knowing where to go. The boat driver did not know where to go and we did not know how to get to the island until the Greek Coast Guard came and rescued us from the sea.
How did you feel at the time? Do you think that the circumstances you have experienced are still affecting you and how is that?
What I have experienced has advantages as well as disadvantages. I have discovered in myself that I am able to continue my life well and I am trying to plan for a successful future, inshallah.
Did you imagine that you would be able to deal with this situation?
Not specifically, but I have now discovered that I can do everything positively.
How did you survive or overcome these difficulties? What was the mechanism or strategy you used to face or overcome difficult times? From where do you get strength and emotional support?
I get strength and emotional support from my family and friends. They support me continuously and make me feel successful. I didn’t have any strategy or special thinking abilities, but I learned a lot from my recent experiences.
What were your dreams before the event that made you leave your home?
My dream was to travel to Europe and become a successful person, and become a football player, as well.
What did your dream become after you left your home country?
To be a successful person and become a famous football player.
What were your strengths before leaving your home country?
My strengths were that I lived with my family, that I was an athlete and I used to spend time playing football as I hoped to succeed in football.
Do you still have these strengths or not?
No, I have not been able to maintain them.
Your experience seems difficult. Do you feel that it has helped you become more mature or helped to grow in some way?
I have lost a lot of years here. I felt that I grew old without achieving the goal I wanted, especially in terms of football. I played for two famous clubs, but I failed again and did not achieve what I always wanted.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future now?
Getting a job and to have my own house.
We appreciate your answer to all these questions. Is there anything you would like to add that would help people in Europe understand refugee life better?