Fahim left Afghanistan on January 1, 2015, and traveled with a smuggler through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, then Greece. When I asked about the trip, he just kept repeating, “it’s really really bad situation.” The first time he tried to cross from Turkey to Greece, he was on the sea for five hours, his boat broke and everyone had to throw their belongings overboard. “It’s 99% chance we’re going to die,” he says. “But because of God, we survive; the police came to survive us and we go back to Turkey.” He tried again, and again, and again; each time the police would catch them or the conditions were so treacherous they had to turn around. The fifth time, they made it.
After a week on the Greek island of Samos, Fahim arrived at Piraeus Port in Athens; things got even worse. He lived in squalid conditions in flimsy, porous tents, standing hours in line to use one bathroom, with no hot water, deplorable food, and little hope. “I never live in such bad situation; I never believe how people can live like this.” But he thought to himself that he’s come this far to build his future, he’s not going to give up now. So he formed a soccer team with others at the camp. “Every night we were playing, and I just forget it, where I live.”
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Photo: Saanya Ali
To support the immediate needs of refugees in Skaramangas and elsewhere, please donate through this link, which is organized through my friend who is working directly with refugees on the ground; and indicate “Greece/refugees” in the designation section. http://mionline.org/donate/