Picture stories by Afghan children

Greece: Samos
July 2019

Zeinab’s story

This is a picture of one day  in Afghanistan, when we went out with  my aunts and uncles and father and brothers. We had so much fun on that day. It was a children’s park in the city. The weather was so nice, although there was not so much shade, so we had to find another place for shade. Then we all went to a restaurant for food. This is my mum and dad in the picture. It was one of my best days ever, it is such a happy memory. We have not had any days like that here on Samos. Sometimes we go out. We did find a nice place yesterday, next to the sea. That was beautiful.

My happiest day, by Zeinab, age 8, from Afghanistan

Abpash’s story

We were living in Turkey in a place like a dormitory and one day we got into a boat and went to the Greek border. The boat had a hole in it and we were about to go under. It was so scary and I felt very bad. But then the Turkish police officers caught us and took us back to Turkey. That was a good thing because we could not have continued in that boat. They put us in jail for one day. The jail was a big building with a huge yard, and we had many things to play with so it was good. The guards were kind, they fed us. Then after one day we were free, so we tried to pass again. We talked to a smuggler, and they took us to the sea again. The first night had been very rough, but the second time it was calm, so we got into the boat. But then we ran out of fuel in the middle of the sea, and we had to stay there for three hours, I was scared again. Someone in the boat called Frontex, who called the Greek police, who came and took us to Chios, but then they changed their minds and brought us here to Samos and sent us to the camp. That was six weeks ago.

Crossing from Turkey to Greece, by Abpash, age 8, from Afghanistan

We actually live in the Jungle.. [The overflow area outside the main camp] it’s really bad because there are so many rats and bugs. There are 6 of us in one tent. There are three levels 1, 2 and 3 and we are on 3 and there is a toilet and shower there, but someone stole the rubber tube, so we go to Baobab [a community space in Vathy] to have showers, and there is another shower place far away. The camp food is not good. You have to queue 3 hours for food and things are not cooked, they are raw. Sometimes they give us pizza.

We do have open cards. [This grants permission to travel freely in Greece while waiting for the asylum interview.] So, I hope they call our names soon, so we can leave as soon as possible. I wish the same for everyone on Samos. We want to go to Athens, but then I would like to go to Germany because my aunt lives there

Vahide’s story

My family in the boat to Greece, by Vahide, age 8, from Afghanistan

This is my family. We were heading from Turkey to Greece in the boat, and we ran out of fuel and a huge ship came from Greece and saved us when the engine stopped. Someone dropped a ring over the side of the boat There were about 30 people on the boat. It was Sunny. I wasn’t afraid, I wanted to stand up and see everything, but my father would not allow me. That was my first time in a boat. Back in Afghanistan I used to swimming, but never in a large sea.

Ali’s story

Our house in Iran, by Ali, age 7, from Afghanistan

This is a picture of my house in Iran where we lived with my brothers. Next to the house was an open field and we had so much fun playing there with my parents, basket ball and football. There was a highway next to the house and sometimes a car would pass by, and there was a small lake where we could swim for free.  We loved playing in that park we went there a lot. But one day my father decided we had to move to Turkey, because he wanted us to have a good education. But unfortunately we could not study in Turkey, because they said you are migrants from Afghanistan, you cannot study here. I did not have any toys to play with, but sometimes we went to play football.

This is a picture of our journey from Turkey to Greece across the sea. We were in a tiny boat with 42 people. At first we had so much fun, because there were Dolphins and they were following us. But later it got rough and difficult and we were all saying goodbye to one another, because the sea was so rough and it was so scary.

Our journey from Turkey to Greece, by Ali, age 7, from Afghanistan

It took three hours between midnight and early morning, and then we were in Greece [Greek waters] but the Turkish police came and tried to throw a long rope in our boat, but we tried to escape, and I was sure we would go under the sea. The Turks had a huge ship and ours was small, and we could easily  have gone under their boat. And I had a heavy coat around my legs and my feet were stuck under a heavy canister. I thought the Turkish police would just leave us there and that we would die. That’s why we all said our goodbyes.

And on the other side the Greek police were waiting in a big ship and we wanted to reach them, but when we got close the Greek police just stood and watched. Our boat was broken and the water was coming in and the Greek police did not want to let us in. They tried to drown us. They used long metal poles to push us away. but then my father Took the metal pole away from them. Then a Turkish police officer said:

… We are going to kill you.

And my father shouted:

… if you want to kill us, kill me, but let my children go to Greece,

And he put his neck on the edge of the boat. So then we got closer to the Greek police and the Turkish officers left. They went far away to Turkey. And the Greek police let us in. We stayed on the ship for a couple of hours, and then we arrived at the island. They took my father away to a place to ask questions. They kept him for three days. After he returned my mother went to the hospital, because she was pregnant. We went to the camp. Now we have accommodation and I can go to school here. I love this school.

But my parents worry and make me feel worried. I get angry and I ask myself why did we come here because I don’t have anyone to play with here. I just sit on the chair and I have nothing to do. Of course, I understand we don’t have money. I can swim here in Samos. I go and swim by myself. My other brothers just play next to the sea but I  can swim with a life vest, and without. But I don’t want to stay here. We want to go to Athens and have better conditions. We could live there.

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