An interview with Iman, a Syrian mother who has been in Greece with her husband and children since early 2016. I first met Iman in Athens in February 2016, at an NGO giving out food and clothing. 10 months later, I was at Faros Walk-in Center just when Iman and her children happened to stop by.
Interview and photography by Talitha Brauer. Translation by Michael Aswad
"I went to Omonia to get some supplies, but my bag was stolen, with the identity cards of myself and all my children. I went to the police station and the asylum office to inform them about it and they told me after 6 months I'll have new cards.
I had all the identity cards for my kids with me because we are a big family, and we can get a big quantity of supplies with the cards, so it was really bad when my bag was stolen. I don't come [to the Faros center] often, but recently I found out about them, because I needed milk.
In the summer I was pregnant with this boy (touches her baby), and I spent most of my time in the hospital. I had a surgery— caesarean. And I have nobody to assist me, like relatives, brothers, nobody. I feel like we're here without home; I feel that we're far away from our families, from our brothers. We’re split; a part of us is in Syria, another in Turkey, and now I'm here."
Talitha: What’s your name and how old are you?
– My name is Alaa*, I'm thirteen.
And Alaa, have you started going to school yet?
What do you think of school here in Greece?
It’s good? Is it different than in Syria?
– Yeah, a little bit different.
Are you learning Greek?
How is it going? – Good. Writing the Greek alphabet is easier than writing in Arabic.
And what’s your teacher like? Do you have one or have many? – Every day I have 5 or 6 teachers. The English teacher is my favorite.
Hey! do you understand some of my questions? – Yeah!
What’s your favorite subject? – I like English and French.
Have you made any new friends? Can you tell me about one of your new friends and how you met? – I met them one year before and some of them are Egyptian, and some of them are Greek.
Tell me one person’s name, what is she like, and why you like this friend. – Her name is Maria. She assists me because she’s an Arabic speaker and a Greek speaker, so she assists me with studying and translating to Arabic.
And do you do anything fun with Maria? – Yeah.
Like what? – Playing cops and robbers at breaktime.
(Then it was Alaa's sister's turn to be interviewed.)
And what about you? what’s your name? – Noura*
And how old are you? – Seven.
And do you go to school too? – Yes, in the second class.
And what is your favorite thing about school? – Painting and sport.
And what do you like to paint? – I like drawing with pencil, and I also like painting—drawing and painting.
And what do you like to draw? – Elsa—I'm drawing Elsa.
From Frozen? – Yes. :)
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