Age: 11

City/Country of origin: Damascus, Syria

Marital Status: -

Children: -

Profession: Pupil primary school

Hobbies: Airplanes and flying

Reason for staying on Lesvos: Transit to Germany.

My mood today (1-10): 5

Why? Because I like to leave the island.

My advice for the world: I hope there will be no war anymore.



Age: 9

City/country of origin: Jersey, near United Kingdom

Marital Status: -

Children: -

Profession: Pupil primary school

Hobbies:  ...

Reason for staying on Lesvos:  Holiday with my parents.

My mood today (1-10): ...

Why? ...

My advice to the world: ...



We had already met Alaa and his father, mother and two younger brothers a day earlier, when they had just arrived with the rubber boat which brought them from Turkey to Greece.  It was a blistering hot day and the hike over the steep mountain passes with three young children was far too difficult.  We took them by car to Molyvos, which was located 15 kilometres away.

‘Never again,’ father Abdulmoen said from the backseat.  The fear for the water was still clearly visible on each of their faces.  That night they slept in a parking lot in the sand, waiting on a bus which would take them to Mythilini.

The following day we let Alaa have a conversation with Finn, an 11-year-old boy who we had met in the pool of the hotel.  They met one another by the swings in the park and the conversation began on its own. 

‘What is your favourite subject at school?’Finn asked.  ‘Math,’ Alaa replied, ‘I always have good grades.’ ‘Lucky you!’ Finn said, ‘me too’. 

As they chattered on they discovered even more similarities: both had seen the movie ‘The Hobbit’ and they loved rap.  Playing games on the computer was a

mutual hobby.  Only Alaa was for Real Madrid and Finn for Manchester United.

From behind the cameras the proud parents watched their babbling offspring.  But when the children remained swinging for a while following the conversation, the emotions came from Alaa’s father. ‘Sorry’, he said, ‘we are so tired and this journey has been so difficult, we had to give up everything.’ Even the forest was quiet for a moment. 

Then Finn’s father said: ‘Abdulmoen, I have great respect for you because I don’t know if I as a father would have had as much courage as you.  You are doing this for the future of your children.’ ‘Thank you so much,’ Abdulmoen said.  Deeply moved we said goodbye to both families.

In the following weeks we maintained contact via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.  It was very unfortunate to hear that Alaa and his family ended up in the great jam in the Hungarian city of Budapest.  Happily after a month of perseverance, they were able to reach Germany.  While the family is in the procedure, Alaa and his brothers have returned to school.