The boys at the Skaramangas refugee camp flock to Fahim as soon as they see him; first a couple, then more, by the time we reach his ‘caravan’ – a 10×20 container that he shares with several others and calls home – there is an entire posse of boys vying for his attention. Fahim has a wonderful rapport with children; of course the fact that he is a professional soccer player, wears a cool FIFA sweatshirt (that they all want), and has the gelled hair and cool swag of a sports star, also helps.
The boys changed into their new ‘uniforms’ that we had bought for them and ran excitedly to the field – an incongruous patch of bright green turf donated by the British Council, in the middle of a wide expanse of asphalt and rows and rows of white containers; two dumpsters serve as goal posts. The fact that it was 2 degrees Celsius and the winds from the bay were bitter hardly mattered. Fahim got the boys warmed up, split them into teams and let them revel in an hour of pure joy, where they could forget the perilous journeys that brought them to this unusual circumstance, and simply be kids.
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Photos: Saanya Ali