"Daddy, when do we get to a peaceful place?"

Thousands of people are still arriving each day at the Greek islands. Hakimi, his wife and their three boys have fought their way from Afghanistan and over the mountains of Iran and Turkey. The family hopes for a safe future in Europe.
 
 

It is now a month ago, the family left their home in Afghanistan, and it has been a tough journey.

"Our children have been very ill; they had a fever and vomited. We have seen terrible things on our trip and were on the verge of being willing to die. We are adults and should be fine, but our children have suffered a great deal. Several times we had to carry our youngest son who is six, because he fainted from exhaustion. And several times during the flight, he asked me 'Daddy, when do we get to a peaceful place' It is very hard not to be able to give him an answer," says 51-year-old Hakimi.

The boat took in water

There are no legal routes into Europe for Hakim and his family, and like many other people arriving to Europe at the moment, Hakimi and his family were forced to make the perilous trip in a rubber boat across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Lesvos. Although the trip is short when you look at a map, it is a long trip, when sitting in a crowded, leaky boat.

"At one point the boat began to take in water, and our children ended up sitting in water up to their waists. It was one of the scariest things I've ever experienced. We had to hold on to our boys and literally had their lives in our hands, but luckily we were rescued by the coast guard and brought to safety on Lesvos, where we were taken to Moria camp," said Hakimi.

Quickly through the queue

The Danish Refugee Council works with the Greek Authorities to provide accommodation in the Moria registration site on Lesvos, while staff members are present around the clock and are working hard to help the vulnerable newcomers with getting a comfortable arrival.

"We haven’t got any assitance on the route until we came to Moria. We got quickly through the queue, because our children were soaked and we got dry clothes, food and a nice place to sleep. We slept in the cabins and it was really nice to finally be able to sleep peacefully. We didn’t think we would get here and we did not think we would survive. We are very grateful to be safe," said Hakimi.

Suicide bombs every day

Afghanistan has been a country in conflict for many decades, and it is very hard to live in an environment, where you cannot be sure to survive the trip to and from work.

"I'm a construction worker and we lived a classic middle class life in Afghanistan, but it was mentally hard to live there. There were suicide bombs every day. My wife and I always said a proper goodbye to each other every morning when we went to work, because we never knew if it was the last time we would see each other.”

"I've been working for ISAF (the Western coalition in Afghanistan, ed.) and in many of the different camps. But everyone in our village looked strangely at us, either because they were jealous that I had a reasonable job, or because they were angry that I was working with the foreigners. It also affects our children, who were without any joy. I hope that my children can grow up to be well-behaved and give back to the world. They should treat people well whatever religion or ethnicity, people have," said Hakimi.

A future for the children

Like most parents, it is the future of the children which is the most important thing for Hakimi and his 45 years old wife who is a hairdresser.

"If peace comes back to Afghanistan one day, we'd love to return and rebuild the country, but the conditions are so bad that we have no hope of this. I am closer to death than the beginning of my life, but my kids have the future ahead of them and they must have a future. I could not bear the thought of my children not having a proper future due to the situation in Afghanistan," said Hakimi.