Age: 20

City/Country of origin: Damascus, Syria

Marital Status: Single

Children: 0

Profession: Student Mechanical engineering

Hobbies: Computer

Reason for staying on Lesvos: On my way to Germany

My mood today (1-10): 6

Why? It has been so incredibly warm today. We wanted to move on to Mythilini, but that didn't work out. I hope we can take a bus tomorrow.

My advice for the world: Please, love humanity. And don't judge people on their appearance.




Age: 45

City/Country of origin: Ridderkerk, The Netherlands

Marital status: Single

Children: 1

Profession: Ambulatory housing counseling in psychiatry.

Hobbies: Horses

Reason for staying on Lesvos: Holiday

My mood today (1-10): 9

Why? I'm on a lovely holiday in a beautiful country, and it was very interesting to have a conversation with Suhaila.

My advice for the world: Peace and happiness for everybody in the world. And I hope the sun will shine a lot.



Suhaila had only been on the road from Damascus for six days when she arrived on the island by rubber boat along with seven family members.  A day later she came, puffing from the heat, to take a seat on a bench just outside the village of Molyvos.   Happily the sun was just setting.

‘How are you doing?’ Petra asked. ‘Good,’ Suhaila said bravely, ‘but I am very tired.’ The past night she and her family had to sleep on the ground of the parking lot for the first time in her life.

The ice was broken, and a beautiful conversation followed.  Petra talked about her perseverance to go to study later in life, and what that had brought her.  Suhaila talked about her studies in mechanical engineering at the university of Damascus. Thanks to the open and curious questions from Petra, everything was discussed: music, love, marriage, children and

even pets. ‘Oh, I am afraid of those!’ Suhaila giggled, ‘a girlfriend once tried to have me pet a cat, but I didn’t even dare to do that!’

Two weeks later we received a message that they had reached Germany. ‘Gutenmorgen,’ she wrote on Facebook.  In the little town of Lotstetten, close to the Swiss border, they were now awaiting the results of their procedure.  During this time she will learn German and she was allowed to participate in a large German conference. It is her wish that once she has her residency papers, to finish her studies in mechanical engineering as quickly as possible at a German university.

‘When the war is over I really want to go back to Syria,’ she emailed us at the beginning of December, ‘I like it here, but Damascus is the most beautiful city in the world.’