The Refugee

Kholoud finally arrived

Kholoud does not even know when this nightmare came to an end. Was it five days ago? Six? "It was a tough journey, full of anxiety, fear and tension. Now I feel that I just woke up from a dream." Her eyes are still tired, as she watches her grandnephews climbing the wooden castle on a playground in Wedding.

It has been five or six days since her journey finally came to an end. Kholoud has arrived in Berlin, two and a half months after she left her husband and her home in Damascus. "I left my life", she says. Now Kholoud is safe, but she does not know how to continue.

We just came to the unknown. Here, we start not from zero but from minus.

The war in Syria has been raging for four years. In July, Kholoud and her husband decided that he would stay and sell their house. In the meantime, Kholoud and her two daughters would leave for Germany.

They traveled via Lebanon to Turkey. Kholoud and her daughters spent two and a half hours on a rubber boat from Bodrum to Kos, walked up to Macedonia, passed Serbia and ended up in Hungary. There was no place in the trains from Budapest, so they decided to take a taxi to Munich. A bus brought them to Berlin, after two and a half months of deprivations, suffer and fear. It took them around 15.000 Euros to survive.

Now Kholoud and her daughters stay with her niece and nephew in Wedding. She has not only lost all her belongings, but also her orientation. Back in Damascus, she used to be an English translator. Here, in Berlin, she has to make a new start. But where to start once you have lost the connection to your former life?

There is nothing more
difficult than losing your homeland.
I feel that I am like a tree planted somewhere else, but my roots
remain in Syria.

Kholoud survived. She arrived the country where so many Syrians strive to go. But still, it feels wrong. Kholoud feels like torn into pieces. "I am not sure if I prefer I had stayed in my homeland. Even though there is war."

Her daughters will have it so much easier in Germany. They can adapt to the new environment, to the new life. For Kholoud, her best days so far have been in Syria. She enjoyed her job, together with her husband she had a house and a car. The war forced Kholoud to leave so many things behind.

Syria before the war was beautiful and safe. Now... it is hell.

But for now, Kholoud is in Germany. She has to get along with the new environment, the new situation. For now, she is living in Wedding with her niece and nephew and her children. With her family, and this as well means home, somehow. Today is the first time that she visits the playground with the children. While they play, Kholouds thoughts wander to a distant place.

This story was created at Leopoldplatz, Wedding by Hiba Aslan and David Ehl.

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