Stranded And Broke: A Modern Migrant’s Story

Struggling for money and living in a squalid and overcrowded refugee camp, Hannah is stuck with thousands of others in Greece.


Migrant In Greece Hannah<img src=”×116.jpg” class=”image__item video__teaser-image” alt=”Migrant In Greece Hannah” />

The 20-year-old Syrian has been living in a squalid refugee camp for the past 15 days, and she told us she had serious problem: she was broke.

“You can’t live here without any money,” Hannah told us. “If you want food you have to stand in line for four hours, and that is only for a small meal.

“There are 15,000 people in a camp that has a capacity of 2,000. There is not enough food for everyone so you have to buy food on your own.”

Salvation for Hannah had come from an unexpected source – a family relation who saw her on TV.

The camp on the Greek-Macedonian border<img src=”×116.jpg” class=”image__item video__teaser-image” alt=”The camp on the Greek-Macedonian border” />

“My uncle in Australia sent me some money. He saw me on (German) news yesterday and he called me,” she explained.

Hannah is an architecture student from Homs, a once proud city where protests against the Syrian regime began in 2011. However, four years of fighting have reduced much of it to rubble.

She left behind her parents and her brother in the hope of reaching Germany, where two of her friends are now living – but like so many other Syrians, Hannah is now stranded in northern Greece.

Last week the Macedonians, along with nine other central European countries, decided to drastically limit the number of refugees they allow in.

As one of a small number of people at the camp who speaks English, Hannah has taken on the role as translator-in-chief for a small number of NGOs working at the site, along with its Arabic-speaking occupants.

“I communicate with a lot of people. I try to help everyone, because I know English. I first met people at the doctor’s clinic – I went there because of the dust, so I stayed there for three hours to translate between people and the doctor and made friends with the doctors and nurses,” she said.

Now, camp occupants call on her night and day.

“When you translate, people call (me) when they want something, when I walk through camp. They call and say ‘can you translate?’ I have met so many people here that way.”

Hannah told us that the conditions at this makeshift site are “very bad, very rough”.

She has thought about paying people smugglers to get her to Germany, but she knows it is a risky decision.

“I have some thoughts to do that but it is kind of dangerous so I am not sure. Also I got (to Greece) illegally and don’t want to continue my trip illegally. I just want everything to be legal,” she said.

This bubbly and energetic student finds herself in a difficult situation, but she told us that there is something good – something inspirational – to be found here too.

“You sense sadness in their eyes and that they are losing hope. You (hear) a lot of stories from the war. But they are trying to stay strong and have faith – they try to have some goals,” Hannah said.

“They are strong people who have survived the war so they can survive this.”


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