Turkey – Greece – Macedonia – Serbia
The journey started with rubber boats. We had to get in contact with persons of these boats. So we met with a person who worked for the smuggler and he is the one who coordinates between the two parties. He gives the money to the smuggler. We had to pay a big amount of money.
They call themselves ‘third party’ but you don’t know who they are and what they do with your money. You just have to risk it. A lot of people got scammed because of this.
It’s like a Mafia.
These smugglers and the way they deal with you and get you to the car.
One journey costs about 75.000$ for the whole group on the boat.
He tells you where the boat is located and at what time it will start. So it’s all secrecy. They say you have to wait until the boat is ready and they collect all the people who have to wait in a room. Eventually they say it’s time and put everyone in cars and trucks and take you to the location where the boat is.
They call it ‘the point’. You get to the point and everything goes so fast.
It’s very crowded and they just make those little wholes so that you can breathe. Sometimes the way to the point can take 3 hours. Our truck only took half an hour and then we had to walk 2 hours in the woods until we got to ‘the point’ on the shore.
Our main fear was the ocean, it takes about 3 hours to the closest island of Greece. But it felt like a year being on the boat.
It was so scary on the boat.
Only I (Razan) can swim and I was thinking the whole time what I would do if the boat capsizes. How how can I save my wife and my daughter? I couldn’t save both.
I (Dyana) told Razan he has to save the baby if something happens and forget about me.
It was on the edge of death for both of us, it was scary. The waves could capsize your boat easily. Everyone was praying to God until we got to the shore and it was such a relief!
There were mostly families with children on the boat.
We stayed on the greek island for 4 days and it was really hard because we were not allowed to get a room in e.g. a hotel. So we had to stay outside. We couldn’t get a tent.
The people were looking at us like we were not human. The people from the island were not treating us well.
We had to wait for a paper that gives you the permission to walk around. It was so crowded and there were about 4000 people and only two staff members and two clerks were handing out these permissions. So the police had to be violent sometimes because people were pushing and it was chaotic. And then I (Razan) got hit by one of the police men.
A high number of people there claimed to be Syrian but they weren’t. And the greek government staff felt like there is something wrong about that everyone is saying they are Syrian. So they started closing the line and that’s why they had a delay.
Then we took a bus to the border of Macedonia and there is a very high number of people and we had to wait for two nights.
In Macedonia and Serbia we had to walk for a long distance through an area that was like a desert. Because of the dust our daughter almost suffocated and we had to get out of there as soon as possible.
We had to go very slow because there were so many people and the door between Serbia and Macedonia is so small. Some suffocations happened, people got stepped on, people had to go to the hospital.
My husband and I got separated in this chaos for about 4 hours.
Our daughter was with Razan and we only had one phone. I didn’t have a phone and couldn’t call him. I was so scared and I was just crying and people told me that I have to get on the train because it was leaving. But I didn’t. Because Razan and I had the agreement that if I get lost I should stay where I am and wait for him. He will keep looking for me until he finds me. That’s what I did. I kept standing at the train station.
If I would have gotten on the train it would have been more difficult for Razan to find me. And I didn’t have any contacts with me, they were all on the phone that Razan had. And he found me!
Then we took the train from this border through the country to Serbia. We arrived in Belgrad at night. We stayed for two days in a big park. It was cold and rainy. Then a bus took us close to the Hungarian border.