‘I would like to wish you a good trip,’ Otis said. ‘Thank you very much,’ Rashad replied, ‘and I wish that you will be able to finish your studies at the nautical college, and that you may always be as cheerful as now.’
A wide smile, a wink, a handshake and a photo. Back in the Netherlands Otis emailed us: ‘Thanks for the beautiful experience, I will never forget this, it has hit me hard.’
The 19-year-old touched us too because he offered to take part in the project. He went and sat on a bench and could listen to someone who had to make a difficult journey. That is why Otis we hope one day that you will be able to go along with your girl to buy a nice, fresh bread in the rebuilt bakery of Rashad in Damascus. And that he can show you all of the beautiful places in Syria.
As long as the war in Syria goes on Rashad will remain in a centre in Germany, where he waits for the outcome of his procedure. In early December we received the message that his wife, son and mother had also arrived in Germany. The reunion was an emotional and happy one. They had to take the same route as he had done.