Here at Miksaliste, volunteers and refugees mix like one big family every day. One of our closest family members is Mustafa, a 14 year old boy from Anbar, Iraq. He’s had been with us for three months back in the autumn, having become a volunteer at distribution, helping our team give clothes, shoes and blankets to people in need. He was here with his parents and two brothers, as well as his uncle Ahmad and his wife and two children.
His family decided to leave Anbar when Daesh took over, and fighting became an every day struggle. Daily life became complicated, and even smoking an offense punishable by death.
“My uncle Ahmad, he would smoke inside, then wash his hands and everything with soap before going out,” he said with a smile.
Before all this happened, Anbar was a peaceful and safe place, where he went to school and played football, like most boys his age around the world.
His travels began through Syria and he lived in Turkey for three years, where conditions weren’t very good. He’d been in Serbia for three months before moving on to Germany, and found that it was better here, although the coming of winter had made nights a lot more uncomfortable at his camp.
Despite his difficult life circumstances, he’s not lost his wide grin and naughty boyish demeanor. The team here affectionately teased him that he is a “big problem,” but his presence had certainly made distribution a livelier place for the time he spent with us.
“(Miksaliste is) very good. And the boss there, Albert, he’s very good”. Here, he made friends and found the way he spent his time is a lot more fun and rewarding, as well as the food better than at the Bazaar.
He has hopes of returning home soon, now that Daesh has been kicked out of the city and things are returning to normal. “My small uncle in Anbar, he said everything is good (there now).”
“Mom is the boss,” he says. “If my mother wants to go, we go. If she wants to stay here, we stay here”.
Mustafa and his family went on to move to Germany where they have now begun their new lives.