But when a chance to study and have a normal future seemed impossible in Turkey, they decided to make the crossing to Europe.
‘What would you like to study when you are older?’ Birvan asked. ‘I am not really sure,’ Annemarijn said, ‘and you?’ ‘I want to continue with my studies in archaeology,’ Birvan said, ‘it seems to be a nice profession. My dream is to be an archaeologist in Syria.’
There was a moment of silence. Then Annemarijn said: ‘what I notice when I look at you is that I see a very strong girl; you don’t look like you have fled.’ A brief, shy smile. ‘I have to be strong,’ Birvan then said, ‘we do not want people to feel sorry for us.’ ‘But what do you see when you look at me?’ Annemarijn asked. ‘When I look at you I see optimism and safety. Here today on the island I have met warm and friendly people and you are one of them.’
A month later we happily saw on the Facebook page of her husband that he and Birvan had safely arrived in Germany. In a village in the neighbourhood of Dortmund they await their procedure.