Lesvos, Greece: When people have lived in Moria for longer than one year, there is often a recognizable sadness to them. We met one man, who we will call Ali, who has lived in Moria for two years. Ali wanted to keep his identity private for fear of his former country finding him. He told us he could answer general questions about the state of life in Moria but personal questions were too hard. Ali is originally from Sudan. He is in Moria by himself, his family is still in Sudan.

≈ Story by Ceci Sturman ≈ July 2018


“Moria is disappointing.”

He says, because there are no choices people can make. There is no freedom. “You can’t work, you have to be dependent on someone for everything in Moria, food, money, water, clothes. There is no way to be self-satisfied.”

“The system is disappointing.”

Ali has watched people from his country come and go in 3 months, and he has been here for 2 years. He feels like the [asylum] system is made to keep him confused. For the first year and a half that he lived in Moria, every time his papers were renewed and he saw that he wasn’t eligible for asylum, he would feel sick and have a headache for the rest of the day. But now, when they get renewed, he feels nothing at all: he is numb to it. He has stopped guessing what it is about him that makes him undesirable, unacceptable.

“It is a scary place”.

He tells me that every day in Moria there are threats of fights, of violence. Every day, the elderly, the women, and the children, all get scared. “Even I get scared now because there are rumors that different groups are going to fight each other, and I don’t know if I am in danger”.

Ali attends classes at various community centers around Mytilini during the day, so he doesn’t have to spend endless hours in Moria, reliving his trauma over and over.


Ceci Sturman is a writer in NYC. She studied refugee relations in university and has since covered the Burundian Refugee Crisis for World Vision Tanzania and worked in the Crisis Campaigns department at Amnesty International USA.




Mosaik Support Center for Refugees and Locals provides a space of warmth, safety and community for the most vulnerable populations on Lesvos.

Built on principles of solidarity, integration and empowerment, Mosaik aims to move beyond immediate crisis response and to offer sustainable structures to support refugees in their resolve to live with dignity.