Hi Ahmad! It’s very nice to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself?
Hello! My name is Ahmad and I am 22 years old. I was born in a small and lovely town called JESEER AL SHOUGHOR. It’s a town at the northern west of wounded Syria.
Can you tell us a little bit about your hometown?
Yes, of course! It has approximately 50 thousand inhabitants. They are simple, kind hearted and generous as the „Oroutes River“ which flows through. There are a lot of apricot, cherry and pomegranate orchards. They are surrounded by mountains which take colors of the seasons: During wintertime the are dressed in white like a bridegroom, in spring daffodils sing lovely songs at the edge of the Orantes River.
In autumn many different colors are mixed together. Yellow, red, and brown and purple, everything sings a faraway song.
But the last five years of war have drawn the countryside into nothing but red, everything is bloody.
You decided to study law in Syria. Why did you do so?
My dad told me that with studying law I will be a great person in my city and afterwards I will be able to join the army and become an officer.
You started your studies. What happened then?
I started to study law but unfortunately the war began and all of the sudden I had to struggle for survival. I thought that the longer the rich men who defended us could stay strong, the longer I would be able to stay in Syria. I hoped that everything would be fine after one or two years, but it was just a dream.This blind war forced me to leave my university and my family. I decided to take a dangerous journey looking for new hope, a future, and peace.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?
Germany was my only hope. But I didn’t really know how to get there. We knew that it would be a long and dangerous way. Nevertheless, with two broken hearts and tears in our eyes my brother and me started our uncertain and dangerous journey. Our first destination was Turkey. Our orders were to run and not to let the police catch us. They told us that if we were caught we would be taken to the police station where they would hit us in order to force us to go back to Syria. This idea frightened me. I didn’t want to loose my chance for a better life. I didn’t want to go to jail. I came from Syria with nothing but my mom’s prayers and the memory of her smile that hid great love and endless despair.
I spent only one week in Turkey trying to communicate with people called „Mafia“ who prepared the boat to travel to Greece.
How did you communicate with those people?
It was very easy: On Facebook you can find a lot of pages. There you can choose from different people who already have a lot of experience with refugees. Of course, you cannot trust anyone. In the end they just want to have your money. They don’t care about your life.
What happened then?
We took the boat to Greece. The sea was very big, colored in black and it smelled like an angry and hungry person. After two hours my family heard my voice from Greece. I had arrived.
I thought that with arriving in Greece everything would be easy because I entered the European Union. But unfortunately I was wrong. We started to walk to every police station nearby. The very first one told us to go to the next village because they were not responsible. The locals didn’t help us.
After two days we finally arrived at the right place. With a big bus which I assumed to be a bus for criminals they took us to a camp. But it wasn’t really a camp. It rather was a place for animals. We stayed there for one week waiting for documents. Then we headed to Athena. There I met my uncle, his wife and their children. I hadn’t seen them before.
From Athena we headed to Thessaloniki, a city in the north of Greece. From there we went to Kilkis, further north. Then we had to walk again. It took us two days to reach the boarder of Macedonia. In Macedonia we tried to reach the first train station. Sick of walking we decided to rent bicycles. Each bicycle cost us 200 Euros for 100 kilometers of riding.
During a break in a village called „Demir Kapija“ I met a girl who asked me if I needed help. I asked her if there were any place where I could buy some good food. She provided us with a lot of food, drinks and new clothes. But most important she also bought train tickets to the last station on the border to Serbia. She was a very nice lady and beautiful as well. On my first vacation I will go back to see this girl again ;-) One night later I reached the first village in Serbia.
Partly by walking, partly by car I reached the capital of Serbia. There I spent one week trying to relax a little bit. I explored the city. It was very nice and very cheap. Our next destination was Hungary. With a lot of snickers, red bull, power banks to charge the phone and new clothes in my bag I started to head to the border. It took us five days and nights to reach the border. We walked during the night and slept during the day. The problem was that if the police had caught us they would have taken our finger prints which would have forced us to stay in Hungary (Dublin-Rules).
Suddenly, a bus driver in small village at the mid night stopped in front of me. I wondered if I should ask him for help because at that point we had no food, we could not use the euro and we were tired as hell. He was our last hope. I was scared.The bus driver told us that this place was very dangerous for refugees. He offered us help and took us to a small city called Szeged. The bus driver introduced us to his friend who was a taxi driver. He took us to Budapest.
No matter where you are there will always be good people!
In Budapest my brother and me slept in a hotel which cost us 100 euros per night. I didn’t really care. I was tired as hell. I needed some good sleep.
The next day I called the Mafia again. They told me that they could get me to Germany if I payed 600 euros. With no other choice I accepted. Honestly, I am very sure that there are agreements between the Mafia and the police. Money can buy anything.
After 25 days of traveling I finally reached Germany. Everything was different — the faces, the language, the smell. I was overwhelmed!
On my way to Hamburg I started to recap the journey I just had made. It really was a dream!
With a lot of lights, bridges, beautiful girls ;-) and a big welcome I arrived in Hamburg. The green city next to the water is not just one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Even the citizens of the hanseatic city have difficulty hiding the pride of “their” city. I felt very comfortable and decided to try everything to have a future in this city.
Day after day, I was taken from one camp the another. In the end they took me to Schnakenburgallee. I didn’t like this place. Every day I used the train without a ticket because I had no money anymore. From morning until night I walked through the city trying to communicate with people. The people were very nice to me and I felt welcomed.
One day, there way a party for refugees right next to my camp. A person rolling a cigarette next to me asked me if I had a lighter. We started to talk and he told me that he was studying at Bucerius Law School. I saved the name of BLS because of the word „Law“ in it. The guy called Yasar Ohle gave me his email-address and I added him on Facebook.
After one week, Yasar Ohle wrote this to me:
„Hey! I hope you are feeling better! Remember when I told you about the Law Program at my university? The student’s council now arranged a possibility for people to participate, if they had to leave their countries and studied law before. I will send you the Invitation, so you can have a look if you think it’s something you want to do let us know!“
I couldn’t believe that I had the opportunity to go to university again. On the first day at Bucerius I met the International Office in the Coffee Lounge. I was overwhelmed and didn’t really know how to handle this situation. My dream finally came true.
I started to meet people at Bucerius. In the beginning, I was very shy because I didn’t know how to talk to them. But then I saw the smiles, the help and the welcome and it just felt like being in my home school again.
Because of BLS I am know at the Max Plank Institute, because of BLS I have small job at the university of Hamburg, because of BLS I met the best couple — Vincent Möller and Anna Faure. My brother and me now live with them. Last week, I finally found my own apartment.
I am very thankful to know people like them. I am very thankful that BLS gave me this opportunity.
LOVE and RESPECT to all of you!
Find more stories and intersting pieces at lawsome.hamburg!
The interview was conducted by Patrick Häde
Read more on Ahmad’s story here: http://elbsalon.de/ahmad-vier-monate-spaeter/