Refugees of Skaramagas

 

SK (19 of 84) (1)
“My daughter has a lung condition. When we first arrived on the island of Lesvos I took her to a doctor because she kept weezing and coughing. The doctor said, ” Give her water and that will make her cough go away.” I told him you think Syria doesn’t have water, that is not going to fix anything. All I could do at that moment was give her water. Once I got to Athens, I realized I had to start my own restaurant, in the camp, to take care of my daughter and save up fr my family’s future. A lot of the money I make from this restaurant I use to take her to more specialized doctors outside of the camp that provide her with proper treatment. It turns out, water was not what my daughter needed to cure her disease. But this is life, money has the power to give you answers to questions you wouldn’t normally receive.” (From Qamishli Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (56 of 84)
Ali: “You’re from America. Wow! I really want to go to America. How do I get to America? Is it easy to get to America legally without a smuggler? Does America take in refugees?  Do you like living in America? Is there racism in America towards immigrants or refugees like in some places in Europe? Wow… America, InshAllah one day I make it to America.” (From Aleppo Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (49 of 84)
(man on the left) “Tell me congratulations I just got accepted for relocation to Luxembourg. Thanks be to God, take a picture of me to remember this amazing moment.” (Man on the right) “Congratulations bro on a lifetime of happiness and success in your new country. Now all that is left is for me to get my acceptance for relocation so I can go to Germany and be with my loved ones.”
SK (28 of 84)
“This is my beautiful wife. She takes care of the kids and me. She also makes extra money for us with her salon. I should call her the man of the container.” (Kurds from Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (68 of 84)
Mohammed (left) “Act cool bro this is going on my Facebook and girls are going to see this.” Anas (right) “Okay, I’ll only look cool if you make sure to tag me in it.” (From Aleppo Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (3 of 84)
“I am a tattoo artist. I have a tattoo machine in my container, and I give people in the camp tattoos. My favorite one I drew on myself is a flower with my mother’s name on it and drops of blood dripping from it. I drew it for myself when I first got to Greece because my mother is sad for me and for what I have been through for the past couple of years.” (Kurd from Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (12 of 84)
“I just found out I am going to Germany in a couple of weeks to be with my family. I pass my days by working in the restaurant from 4pm-2am. I get paid a salary and interact with everyone from the camp. What more could a young man, like me, living in the camp want? Sitting in the container doing nothing all day makes time go by so slow. Making sandwiches passes the time by fast. I have made over two-thousand sandwiches since I have been here.” (From Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (61 of 84)
“My fiancé is in Germany with her family, while I am here in Greece. We were newly engaged before her family left and went to Germany. I told her I would come in a few months and meet her there. Little did I know the borders would close just days before I got to Greece making the process harder to get to Germany. I have been in Greece for over a year, and I have not seen her since we were in Syria.” (From Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (39 of 84)
“I was a police officer in Syria. When the regime started bombing homes around us, we decided to flee. My true passion is creating scale models of buildings from materials I find around the camp and around the city. This is my home in Syria. When I came to Skaramagas, I started teaching art to the kids living in the camp to help them find creative outlets to express themselves.” (From Homs Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (43 of 84)
“Hello! Hello! How are you? Cheese! Cheese! “
SK (2 of 84)
“I was looking through Facebook one day and came across the profile of a beautiful woman.  I added her on Facebook with the thought this random girl would never accept my friend request because she does not know me. She was Egyptian and lived in Egypt, and I was a Kurd living in Syria, but she accepted my friend request. We talked for a long time on Facebook and fell in love without ever meeting each other. Just phone calls, messages, and occasionally video calls. She wanted me to come to Egypt and ask her father for her hand in marriage but I couldn’t because there was war in Syria and I had to leave. Her father wouldn’t have approved anyway, I was a young Kurdish boy with no job, little education, and nothing to give her but love. For some Arabs, love isn’t enough. Several months ago, she messaged me and told me she got married. That was the last I heard of Mona, the beautiful Egyptian girl from Facebook.” (Kurd from Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (79 of 84)
“I want you to make sure we look good in this photo, not poor or needy like the refugees appear in many photos around the world. Alhamdulilah for our health and our safety”
SK (64 of 84)
“My barbershop is where I spend my days. I meet friends here, listen to music, smoke cigarettes and occasionally cut hair for a euro or two. Business is very slow for us barbers in the camp because there are so many barbershops.” (From Aleppo Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)
SK (29 of 84)
Two minutes before the photo was taken (Wife) “Come out here Samir (Husband) so the nice white man with the good camera can take our photo.” (Kurds from Syria. Photo taken Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece)

 

SK (45 of 84)
“Many Syrian refugees want to leave Greece and go to other countries like Germany, Sweden, Norway, or Belgium. I do not want to leave. I am happy in Greece and want to stay here for the rest of my life. Here is where my future is. I have been here [Skaramagas Camp] for only one month and have built a business that attracts hundreds of customers. People come to the restaurant and ask for me, specifically, to make their sandwiches or else they won’t eat here. If this is the result of one month’s hard work, imagine the restaurant I can build in Greece with the rest of my lifetime. You want to know the secret? quality and quantity, you must have both for success. Take my hummus for example. I make a tub of hummus and put as much tahini in it as I would back in Syria. I do not cut corners like some of the other restaurant owners in the camp. Because Tahini is expensive they do not use as much as the recipe calls for. For me, the margin of profit is less per tub of hummus but at least the customer is happy. If the customer is happy they come back for me and the hummus. Good quality hummus always builds customer loyalty.”

Photography: Ryan Lucas-Henderson

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One Comment Add yours

  1. rryan5 says:

    Sara,
    This is outstanding journalism. You capture the humanity of these refugees in a way that rivals the popular “Humans of New York” blog.
    Bravo.
    -Robbie

    Like

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