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Piraeus' port and my first refugee friends

Volunteering journalism

In the biggest humanitarian crisis since II World War, a Brazilian journalist discovers how he cannot not only observe events but give something in return.

"THE REFUGEES HERE HATE JOURNALISTS"

By André Naddeo - independent journalist and volunteer

That was the first piece of advice I received when I arrived in Piraeus, the largest port in Greece, a port that was transformed into a giant refugee camp from August 2015 until 27 July this past year.

I didn’t even take out my camera in the first week I spent in the camp. I wanted to get closer to my subjects – to understand them better and, as much as possible, feel what it was like to live in their situation.

I needed to go slow.

In the camp there was a consensus among the Syrians and the Afghans, who were the two most populous groups, as well as among the smaller groups of Iranians, Iraqis, Algerians and Moroccans, that international journalists were taking advantage of them. The refugees complained that journalists, after spending only very little time in the camp, would always ask the standard questions looking for the standard story: how was your trip across the Aegean, which of your family members were killed by the Taliban, how did you escape from the Islamic State?

“Working within refugee crisis demands respect. Keep the distance, create your personal relations and then feel comfortable to document the reality”

GIVING THEM A VOICE

Even worse, refugees said that many journalists took photographs without authorisation, photographs of people who had suffered persecution in their home countries. For people on the run, showing up on TV was like giving out their address. The Afghanis said that people who had worked for their country’s government or for a US institution could be seen as traitors – and they knew all too well the consequences of that.

When I arrived in the camp, I spent my first days there picking up dirty blankets for cleaning, tidying up all over the place, manning the door of the warehouse, distributing clothes and even helping to cook for a total population of more than 1,500 people. We handed out portions of pasta, potatoes and bread supplied by the Greek government. The food wasn’t that bad, but the refugees needed more protein. So we cooked chicken wraps and made sandwiches of hummus, baba ganoush and salad.

By participating in camp life, I was able to become more than just another reporter. I evolved into a volunteer-journalist: a journalist who was not limited to observing and recording, but who also tried to give something in return.

When the refugees got used to seeing me sleeping in the same place, using the communal washrooms, forming part of their daily routine, their trust in me began to grow. I always told them who I was – a journalist – and that I was there to learn and to report about their situation. The only refugees I wrote about were those who fully understood this and accepted why I was there.

The volunteers in Piraeus all wanted to work independently, with no link to institutions. Some were financed by crowdfunding. Others, including me, used their own resources. I offered my labour when it was needed, and helped with small supplies such as tea, coffee and pre-paid cards for cell phones. I spent 45 days living in the camp, and during that time I carried out two projects, both with the help of my refugee friends.

I Am immigrant is about the life stories of adult refugees. It tried to show who they were and the dreams they have. Another, Drawfugeees is an idea based on a classic childhood activity – giving a child paper, coloured pens or chalk, and letting them draw what they want. The project aimed to involve children in the camp in leisure and learning, in an environment where childhood can be hard to protect.

According to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, 53% of the 68,5 million people who are currently displaced worldwide are children. We see them all the time in news bulletins: they die on beaches, they drown at sea, many of them know no life away from war and terror. With the experiences they already have, how would they express themselves with simple paper and crayons?

"I don't know how to draw perfectly. I am shy".
Fatima, 5, Syria-Kurdistan
"I am alone here. All my family is still there trying to survive. This drawing represents my father, mother and brother. And my country. Sometimes I just close my eyes and I fell like home. I miss them so much".
Ahmad Arnawt, 12, Syria
"This is our house being bombed by the Americans. Even the Sponge Bob is desperate. In the right, my sad heart leaves Afghanistan"
Sana, 6, Afghanistan
"That's me. I love drawings. It makes me fell that I am inside in my own's dream".
Rauan Taleb, 6, Syria
"I am Afghan, so I decided to stick it in my heart's side. I am very proud of my country and I want everybody to know that".
Frdos, 14, Afghanistan
"Red, roses, love...We need more love over here".
Asma Snirzad, 8, Afghanistan
"This is a cake for my brother's birthday five days ago. We didn't have it to eat, but we had a lot of fun!".
Musa Rasul, 5, Syria
"This is myself with my two brothers. I love balloons, it makes me happy. All I want is a new home for us, colorful like this one. Maybe we can have it when we finally meet out daddy at Switzerland".
Seva Abas, 11, Syria-Kurdistan
"Yesterday a lot of people here ate poisoned food. They have been taken to hospital by ambulance. So many tends with sick refugees. I think they did it in purpose".
Hothaefa Asbehe, 14, Syria
"Rice, chicken and potatoes. Then, a lot of people being taken to hospital. I still remember the bad smelling of it".
Batol Alsbehe, 12, Syria
"My brother is alone in Germany, with some of my parent's friends. We have been trying so far to reach him, but it's been impossible. My biggest dream is all of us, together, getting inside in our own house again. No matter what, no matter where"
Youssef Souqi, 9, Syria
"In Syria there's no more flowers. I love flowers, because it means life, lightness and love. All I want back to my life, to my country".
Bayane Taleb, 10, Syria
"Last week has rained a lot here at the camp (of Piraeus' port). It's very difficult when it happens because me and my family we leave in a tend".
Mohamed Sharif, 10, Syria-Kurdistan
"Why to draw Allah's name? Because this is the only hope we have".
Abo Aodi, 16, Syria
"The M from my name, and the rest is my signature. I learned this tribal draw with my girlfriend, who is still in Syria. I miss her and I hope we can be together again".
Mohamed Al Kaled, 17, Syria

TIME TO RETRIBUTION

We have been working with this amazing children' refugees for 45 days at Piraeus' port, in Greece. After more than 60 drawings achieved, it was time to prepare them a little surprise…

THE STONEHOUSE

The most difficult part of my life as a volunteer-journalist in Piraeus was when I was in charge at the door of the warehouse, the so-called Stonehouse.

Nobody wanted that job. People were forever banging on the iron door asking for clothes, shoes, food. My job was to explain that although we had the supplies, they would only be distributed at the set times for distribution. If we made any exception, huge lines would instantly form and things could get out of hand very quickly.

The days and times for the distribution of supplies were displayed in Arabic and Farsi. Only those refugees who had just arrived, hungry and with no extra clothes, were attended to immediately.

As well as the natural difficulties of the job, we also had to contend with the ever-present quarrel between Syrians and Afghans. If a Syrian was given a carton of juice and an Afghan saw, then there would be endless complaints of anti-Afghani discrimination. Needless to say, if it was the other way around the situation would be exactly the same.

THE KURDISH FAMILY

Being on duty at the Stonehouse, I also wasted a lot of energy as the unwitting victim of the world’s most annoying childhood game: ringing the bell and running away. The children there, just as anywhere, wanted attention. They wanted to play. I decided to stay outside the door, with the key in my pocket, and take them on in person. Besides, I would have gone crazy locked up inside by myself. It was then that I made my first refugee friend – in a very painful way.

On one of the occasions when I opened the door and had to stand in the way of the flood of children who wanted to invade the warehouse, I felt a sharp pain in my right leg. I looked down and saw a kid biting me viciously.

“Me, dog,” he replied with a winning smile.

I wanted to be angry with him, but “me, dog” cracked me up. Out of the most inauspicious of beginnings, we became friends. Whenever he approached the door, he would automatically bare his teeth and begin to fake bark.

Musa Rasul was one of the most popular kids with the volunteers. Even with his biting habit (I wasn’t the only one to be a victim), he was very affectionate, happily kissing the volunteer women and hugging (and biting) the men. He always wanted hugs. “Me, here” he would say, pointing to my chest. He would then climb on me and on the other volunteers so he get as high up as possible.

The speed with which Musa learnt English was astonishing. I wanted him to be part of the project, which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of de Laila Ben Chaouat El Fassi, a Moroccan volunteer who spoke Spanish. She became my best friend there, a trusty companion and the Arabic translator for “Drawfugees”. With her professional help - she is a sworn translator graduated by Granada University (Spain) - I was able to ask Musa to take us to his family.

“Father not here,” he explained, in the tent where he lived with his mother and four brothers and sisters. Musa’s father had already been in Switzerland for a year: looking after 5-year old Musa, 4-year-old Ruhat, 10-year old Mohammed and 11-year-old Seva all by herself was Mezkina Rasul.

The 35-year-old was a refugee from the war in Syria. The family were Kurds, the most world’s most populous nation not to have their own state. “When I saw my son playing with you, I realised how much we miss my husband,” she said. “My son is transferring on to you [the volunteers] what he is missing from his father.”

Laila’s efforts were priceless for the projects. She founded her own association and still dedicates her life entirely for refugees in Greece

That was a powerful moment for me, and it was then that I decided to pay more attention to the many families in Piraeus that were run by people who were in effect single mothers. In these cases, the husbands had often gone on ahead and were now trying to shepherd their families through a migration process that could take months and even years.

Musa’s drawings varied between the normal images of children his age and other works which had clear messages, such as the time when he drew a birthday cake for his brother. When he finished the drawing, he began eating it bit by bit; he was having his own imaginary birthday party, a party that was impossible there in Piraeus.

His sister Seva (photo), was completely crazy about colours. Normally a very lively, smiling kid she would go into a corner with her paper and pens and concentrate very hard while she drew by herself. Most of the time, she would draw her family, along with balloons and a house where she dreamed of living united again.

Ruhat, the youngest child, was a hard case. Laila’s work here was essential. The family spoke Kurdish at home, and Ruhat still didn’t speak Arabic. Laila was able to get Ruhat to explain, with her mother’s help, the meaning of the airplane she drew repeatedly: the airplane turned out to be a symbol of how much Ruhat wanted to get out of there.

Mohammed (photo) was more of a patriot and a proud Kurd. Twice he drew the flag of his people, with copious quantities of red, green and yellow paint. It was hard to say goodbye to them, especially Musa, who kept asking when I would be back.  Once a week I send WhatsApp messages to Mezkina, I sent birthday wishes to Musa, who is now six. I use an app that translates to Arabic, and it looks as if she understands. She has even sent pictures of her children: Musa, the young boy who used to bite volunteers, has changed his hairstyle, shaving off the sides and putting gel on the top.

In the last week of July (2016), when Piraeus was evacuated as the last informal camp around Greece, the family was sent to a new oficial refugee hotspot set up to receive only Syrians, in Trikala, at the central part of the country. And then, finally, they made their way to Switzerland legally by the Family Reunification program promoted by European Union. The children finally met their father. They are united, as it should be.

NO GOING BACK

Pakistan rejected them after her husband was killed by the Taliban. Lailuma Shirzad's family is just one among the 2.5 million people registered in Europe until 2017, not considering the undocumented. They have not been given refugee status even if the same numbers show they are the second largest foreign population inside the Old Continent.

THE AFGHAN FAMILY

Not a lot has been said about the situation of the Afghanis in the current migration crisis. With the war in Syria now in its eighth year, there is not much room left in news bulletins to keep up with events in Afghanistan, a country that has been living in a state of warfare since the Soviet invasion of 1979 in the Cold War era.

In Piraeus, the Afghan refugees formed the majority, about 65% of the around 2,000 refugees. While the Syrians and Afghans did not get along, that was nothing compared to the real hatred that exists between the two sects of Afghans: Sunnis and Shiites. A large proportion of the fights that broke out at camp were disputes between the two.

Because the Afghanis were generally much less educated than the Syrians, it was harder to approach them and build a dialogue. Few of them spoke English, only Farsi or Pashto, the two main languages in the country.

But football can unite people from any part of the world, and it was at a knock-about session in the port car park that I met the person who would help me enter the world of the Afghan refugee: Rahman Haydari.

The 21-year-old was the first person to invite me to join in the game, speaking to me in English. I played on his side. We may have lost that first match, but we gained a new friendship. Rahman began to tell me his story on the war to the communal showers (five minutes maximum of cold water) and then invited me to drink tea with his family.

Rahman’s group had managed to create a little village inside the camp, joining together three large tents, constructing a makeshift gateway with a blanket, and creating a sense of privacy and home.  Rahman lived here with his brothers and sisters Roman, 13, Asma, 8, and Saná, 6, as well as his ‘mummy’ Lailuma Shirzad, 42.

I developed a close relationship with the family, especially with Asma, Sana and Roman. Meeting them proved to be key to finding a Farsi/Pashto interpreter to work with. Rahman was excited by my ideas and turned out to be a cornerstone in my efforts to understand the experience of his country. Rahman, who had lost both parents at a young age, had been adopted by Lailuma. The family lived in a small village near the capital, Kabul, until Rahman turned 16 and he decided to leave his home and try his luck in neighbouring Iran.

“I suffered a lot there,” Rahman told me. “I worked in clothes factories like a slave, earning almost nothing.” Destiny then reunited him with his adopted family in Piraeus, after six years in which he had not seen or heard from them.

Meanwhile, Lailuma is a living example of why so many Afghanis have become refugees. As if it wasn’t enough for the country to be in a state of permanent war, Lailuma said that the Taliban are merciless with anyone who has in some way worked for the US or for the current government.

Lailuma’s husband was killed by soldiers from the Taleban, shot twice in the chest. She still carries with her an identity card that was in the shirt he was wearing when he was shot and which has been pierced by bullets.

Lailuma is proud of her husband. “He was an important leader in the Afghan government,” she explains, pointing to a picture of him with pride and affection. She speaks quickly, in Pashto, but like most Afghanis does not know how to read or – according to a study carried out by the CIA in 2015, 61.8% of the population of Afghanistan are illiterate.

We would often draw in the evenings, over a coffee or tea in the “Afghan village.” The kids loved it when they found out that they were live on Brazilian television, even though they didn’t know where Brazil was or had ever heard of the country before.

Another member of the group was Ferdawl, the inseparable buddy of Roman. With the two of them, and with Asma and Sana, I found out just how patriotic Afghan kids can be. In many of their drawings, they drew the flag of their country, sometimes just with a few stripes of red, green and black. They also loved Bob Sponge and mobile phones. Smartphones were the main source of information for what until then was a completely isolated and alienated country. The children spent hours watching videos on the smartphone, thanks to a free WiFi hotspot. It also wasn’t that expensive to have a local SIM card - about 10 euros.

It was with this group of kids that I broke down to tears for the first time. Saná is one of the sweetest girls I have ever known, always smiling, always getting me to chase her through the lines of tents. She was forever trying to work her charms on me at the Stonehouse, getting me to give her new sandals and clothes – every time I had to say no, but always with a real pain inside.

One day I managed to deliver to Lailuma a bag full of summer clothes. It was then that Sana decided to show me the drawing she had been working on, the drawing you can see below, along with other drawings from the same group. That day I needed to finish my work early. I needed to breathe.  I needed to cry, for the first and only time. I cried because I knew how much I would miss her. When I have met her again, back to Athens, it was a mixing of happiness and sadness - more details at the upcoming article.

THE FORGOTTEN INTERPRETERS - EPISODE 1

Khalil Baray and Ahmaddullah Ahmadi’s resume story life: after 4 years serving the US Forces at their beloved country of Afghanistan, as interpreters and combatants, believing they were doing the best for Afghan people, both had to run away from the Talibans and became a refugee in Greece after Barack Obama decreased the staff over there. The USA denied an asylum for both of them even if they had the right to be welcomed.

THE FORGOTTEN INTERPRETERS - EPISODE 2

Khalil Baray and Ahmaddullah Ahmadi’s resume story life: after 4 years serving the US Forces at their beloved country of Afghanistan, as interpreters and combatants, believing they were doing the best for Afghan people, both had to run away from the Talibans and became a refugee in Greece after Barack Obama decreased the staff over there. The USA denied an asylum for both of them even if they had the right to be welcomed.

THE GANG OF SYRIANS: "YOU NOT MY FRIEND"

Ahmad Arnawt, is a 12-year-old from the war-torn town of Homs in Syria. His family could only afford to pay for one person to make the trip – and he was the chosen one. Friends of his parents were supposed to take care of him, but it was clear that Ahmad wasn’t receiving the attention he needed. It just wasn’t possible to fill the huge hole in his life.

Ahmad was one of the first children I met in Piraeus. He had already picked up a little English: “Close eyes, family” he used to say. In his drawings, he was always expressing his need for a home. He would draw houses, with his family holding hands and a Syrian flag outside.

Ahmad hung out with Yasser, the leader of the Syrian boys. Yasser was a skinny but extremely articulate kid, just nine years old. The volunteers used to joke that there was an old man hidden inside the lanky child. I have hardly ever known a kid with such a large personality.

Yasser and Ahmad used to play at not getting along with you; looking you in the eye, putting on a stern look and saying “you, not my friend.” They grew so close that it was only natural for Yasser’s family to treat Ahmad as one of their own.

One morning, when I was going to brush my teeth, I bumped into the Syrian gang. I could hardly see, as I had slept in the closed warehouse and the sun was momentarily blinding. “My friend,” I had someone yell, jumping into my lap. I didn’t even realise it was Ahmad, and in my surprise fell into a heap on the floor with him as well. Ahmad then seized the chance to grip me in a reverse neck choke.

He wanted to play, but it was beginning to hurt. The only way I could get rid of him was by tickling his tummy. He didn’t take too well to the treatment, and I became a “not my friend” almost instantly. He simply didn’t want to talk to me anymore.

Try as I might to talk to him again, he would avoid me. It was only in my last days at Piraeus that we hugged and made up, when the drawings were being printed to give to the children. The image I will always remember of him is of the time when he asked me for a coat, outside the distribution hours at the warehouse. It was a windy day and he was only wearing shorts, a singlet and sandals. I found a huge blouse that was way too big for him, covering Ahmad down to his knees and protecting him from the wind. The look of relief on his face when he put it on was a reward that I will never forget.

FOOTBALL OPENS THE BORDERS

Do not ask me why, but there is something about Real Madrid that refugees simple love it. The huge majority support the “merengues”. At Champions League 2016’ final against Atlético de Madrid, a massive crowd gathered to see this special match. In the end of the day, if Europe closes its borders for refugees and migrants, football simply opens it back.

THE SYRIAN-VENEZUELAN

Mouhib El Rifay, 50, was born in a village near the Syrian capital Damascus.  He had lived, at two different periods, in Venezuela for a total of ten years and he spoke excellent Spanish. We got on immediately, especially when his wife helped me out after I had cut my finger chopping tomatoes. “Estás bien, chico?” (are you fine?) she asked, opening the way for me to learn more about this family.

Mouhib requested me not to publish pictures of his wife. He didn’t even want me to use her name. I had to promise him that the selfies we took together were only for souvenirs, not for Facebook. The couple had married young, when he was 21 and she was only 14 – quite common in the Arab world. They had two children living in Germany, while the youngest son, Mohammed was in Piraeus with the parents.

My Syrian-Venezuelan friend had worked for decades as a chauffeur, driving executives between Damascus and Amman, the Jordanian capital. As things were cheaper in Jordan, he used to buy cigarettes in Amman and sell them in Syria, making a tidy profit.

Mouhib was very open about the time he illegally emigrated to Venezuela, where he worked as trader and managed to get Venezuelan passports for him and his wife. While the youngest child was born in Syria, the two elder children both had Venezuelan citizenship.

“And what am I going to do now? I think it is worse there than here,” Mouhib said about his adopted country. He had one plan B up his sleeve: to call the Venezuelan embassy in Greece for help with paperwork. “And then you can pick me up in Rio de Janeiro when I move to Brazil,” he used to say.

I will never forget how sad he looked when we said goodbye. He knew that there was high turnover of volunteers and somebody would replace me, but it was obvious that he didn’t like goodbyes.

We stayed in touch using WhatsApp. After the Greek government cleared out the camp this year, he started to use the last of his savings to rent a small apartment in Piraeus. In one of our conversations, I sent him a picture of my grandmother, sister and dog all at home. He said he was happy to meet my family in this virtual way, but his last message still makes me think hard:

“Have you ever stopped to think that your dog is living better than we are?”

THE ABSENCE OF HUMANITY

"After living in a two floors house, being inside little tends, honestly, it is unfair. Europeans do not put their dogs to live here. Those who are doing this have no sense of humanity".

STRIKING SOCIAL CONTRAST

The contrast at Piraeus' refugee camp was striking. Rich tourists come in huge, luxury cruise ships from Crete, Santorini, or Mykonos; meanwhile, people fleeing from war arrive on its shores barely alive, living in tends. This visible gap between displays of wealth and misery.

THE CASANOVA

For two weeks, two young Lebanese men, one brought up in the US and the other in the UK, spent time in the port making a documentary about volunteers. They lived with us at the Stonehouse and helped out when they weren’t filming. At the beginning, I thought there were three of them: another well-dressed young man with RayBans who spoke flawless English was always by their side. I only found out that he was a refugee when I turned on the camera to interview him.

Over the course of that day, I had been recording the thoughts of many volunteers on film. I just assumed that the guy, who was Always hanging out with the volunteer women, was a European with some Arab background.

Hassan Mansour, 26, was born in Aleppo, one of the cities which has suffered the most in Syria’s long civil war. “I am the only Mansour left,” Hassan told me. He had spent years in Lebanon after a missile struck his house and killed his family.

Thanks to his fluent English, Hassan got on very well with the volunteers. He was always smiling and friendly, sported a very hipsterish beard, and like a local politician was eager to chat with everyone – especially if they were women. I found out later that he had had relationships with volunteers from Greece and from Spain – at the same time. I nicknamed him the Syrian Casanova.

“Maybe they want to try something different,” he would say of his success with the female volunteers.  Hassan and I would sometimes work together in the kitchen, helping to make the wraps, cut the salads or clean up the place afterwards. He said he had always wanted to go to Brazil and to meet Brazilian women. As we became friends, I felt able to ask him: was his womanising a reflection of his loneliness in the world?

“I think that sometimes,” he answered. “But sometimes I think I am just enjoying my youth. Here in Piraeus there are lawyers, doctors, smart people, good looking people. We are just human.” Hassan is currently in a more serious relationship with a volunteer. This time, it’s different, he says.

“I won’t be with anyone else while she is here,” he says. “One day I want to marry and have children. Of course I do. But it’s pointless putting a child into the world now, when I can’t give him a home. I need to work hard.” One of Hassan’s dreams is to be an actor and work in the theatre or on television. “I am sure that one day I will be a famous actor,” he told me.

WE ARE HUMANS

It should not be so complicated to understand it, but refugees crisis, and borders closed, may have pursued people to forget that they are not numbers, but humans beings.

صــــاروخ أخـــو منيوكــه

There is a huge consumption of marijuana in a refugee camp - specially for those who want to relax and forget, at least for a bit, the cruel reality. In the Arabic world, what called our attention was the fact that they do not roll joints. They do big joints called “sarokh akho manyoukeh” ("صــــاروخ أخـــو منيوكــه"), witch means big rocket, or…well, you have got it.

THE ENGLISH TEACHER

One day on my way to the “Afghan village” I felt someone tug at my shorts. It was Youssef, the boy I had been drawing with the day before, offering me some dried fruits from a white plastic cup.  He pointed to his mother, who was waving at him nearby. And so it was that I went to meet Zohour Almasri, a 37-year-old from Syria: the English teacher of Piraeus.

While Youssef got back to his drawing, I chatted to his mother. She had Palestinian roots but had always lived in Syria, in the town of Homs, from where she escaped to Greece. Her English was not completely fluent but she had a very wide vocabulary, understood what volunteers needed and helped the other refugees in the camp. Zozô had a lot of access to the warehouse, as she was able to explain what people needed and could always count on the goodwill of some of the volunteers, including me.

I found out that nearly every morning she taught the Syrian children English, not just out of the goodness of her heart, but because she was fulfilling a long held dream – to be a teacher. “My family kept me busy all the time, so I couldn’t work outside the home and teach in schools,” she explained to me. She admitted also that her husband did not allow her to work outside. “I had some offers, but I could never accept them.”

Zozo discovered her vocation in Homs, when she began to teach extra lessons in English and Arabic to her children, who spread the word about their mother’s talent. The parents of other schoolchildren soon sought her out for extra help.

“During exam time, about seven classmates of my daughter would come to my house,” she told me, just after giving a class to 15 children in Piraeus. In the refugee camp, some classes would involve as many as 30 learners. “Every child needs to know English to communicate, whether on the bus or in the supermarket. They all need basic understanding to integrate in their new society,” she explained.

I always enjoyed Zozo’s clear explanations and her good manners, which were duly copied by her sons Youseff, 9, and Alisar, 13. Both her children participated in the drawing activities. One day, Youssef drew his family holding hands, going into a home that he dreamed of returning to as soon as possible. Alisar produced the most impressive drawing of all – a mixture of Snow White with Frozen.

Zozo herself drew the logo of my project on cardboard and presented it to me on my last day. She said that drawing helped her to fight stress and manage the pain of having to be one year without her eldest son, who was living in Germany. “We are in a tent and we have no way of telling him to come,” she said. “He cannot leave there, and we have no money.”That was the only time I saw her cry.

“All of this hardship on our way was only so that we could see him again.”

The sacrifices made by Zozo’s family and by the thousands of refugees who passed through the camp in Piraeus continue to this day. Following the clearance of the port, many refugees now live in squats, often schools, hotels and abandoned public buildings. The work of volunteers is needed now as much as ever before, as is the work of journalists and reporters in covering and documenting this massive humanitarian crisis.

REFUGEE AND VOLUNTEER

The sacrifices made by Zozo’s family and other refugees who passed through the camp in Piraeus continue. However, and ironically, she managed to accomplish an old dream.

FOOD POISONING

You are a bankrupted immigrant, European borders closed, no where to go...and still the Greek government gives you poisoned food? That's what happened: whose fault was it?

INSIDE PIRAEUS

When I brushed my teeth among the migrants in an ordinary morning, that was the first time some of them started trusting volunteering journalism. I could say that I finally have "got inside" in order to denounce nothing but the reality.

THE METAL SYRIAN

Meet Dani Dark, who faced a lot of prejudice in his homeland to follow his dream of being a true metal head. "In Syria it is difficult to be a metal head. People think you are satanic".

THE END

July, 27th, 2016. That was the last day of Piraeus' informal refugee camp. People have been taken to other camps within Greece or remained in squats downtown Athens. As always, unfortunately, the eviction took place without any sense of humanity.

THANK YOU :)

Text, photos and videos: André Naddeo

Translations: Laila Ben Chaouat El Fassi and Rahman Haydari

Personal photos: Laila Ben Chaouat El Fassi

Production: André Naddeo and Laila Ben Chaouat El Fassi

Logos: Rodrigo Esteves and Rômulo Rodrigues