timo-stammberger-photography-fotografie-berlin-lageso-refugees-fluechtlinge-migration

Mahmoud and his family

I am Mahmoud and this is my wife Muna and these are my children Mais and Mohammad. My other son is in the front of the queue as we all take turns waiting in line with hopes our number will be called soon. As of now, we have been waiting for 18 days and we are starting to feel desperate. Unfortunately, we were told that the office lost our file. Otherwise, we feel lucky as we are temporarily staying with my brother who’s already been living in Berlin for a long time. He has a two-room apartment which including his own family, is ten people currently living in one flat.

I feel homesick and miss my old life. Most of all, I miss my plants and my garden as I would spend a lot of time there. I also miss the way we would meet with all our relatives weekly, have food together and socialize. These meetings are what we miss very much.

Due to the war, our whole family has been torn apart and scattered throughout the region. Two years ago, our apartment in Aleppo was hit by a grenade. Fortunately, my family was in the back of the apartment, but I was injured by shrapnel.

At first we fled within Aleppo but then the situation got worse and sometimes we would spend weeks without electricity or water. Even our social lives became severely restricted. After the entire city was attacked by helicopters, fleeing was the only option we had that would bring us to safety.

I worked as a clerk in the ministry and my wife was a retired teacher. We spent all of our savings towards our escape. My son had been studying English literature and my daughter was studying art. Both of them had their studies interrupted by the war. Mais was not able to bring her university certificates with her and will have to start all over again. Mohammad brought his papers but during the boat crossing from Turkey to Kos, they were damaged by the seawater. We want to become an active part of the german society and I want my children to continue their studies. We hardly have any claims or demands and we just want to live a simple life and find rest.

Update 1: After this initial post, a berlin politician invited Mahmoud’s family over to her private garden: Garden visit

Update 2: Mahmoud and his family meet Amal and George Clooney: Meeting the Clooneys