Sahba Salehi

Latest posts by Sahba Salehi (see all)

As much as we believe in the importance of stories from the newcomers to be shared and heard, we also acknowledge how difficult it can be to relive the traumas and hardships of one’s past life. I would like to express my special gratitude to Alieh for sharing this and wish peace and happiness for her future ahead.

~~~

I am 23 years old and from Afghanistan. It’s been six years since I left Afghanistan.

When I was 17 my family wanted me to marry. I didn’t want to but I had to. There was no choice. I had studied at school until ninth grade and wanted to continue studying. In ninth grade, I had to get engaged to be married. My family would tell me you are a big girl and should marry. In Afghanistan they say that the daughter belongs to other people, meaning that they should go away sooner or later to be with their husband’s family.

My husband’s family did not want me to continue studying. They deemed it inappropriate. So, I could not go back to school.

Then we moved to Iran, where my husband would work, and we lived there for three years. I had my child there. My husband wasn’t really supportive of me and it was very difficult. I had to go through a C-section for my child’s birth and was in the hospital. My husband only stayed with me for one day and then went back to work. We did not have any family there for any support.

I still wanted to study but with a small child, it was not possible. The money needed for a daycare was also too much and couldn’t afford it. There was this neighbour that we had and she would give nice clothes for the baby. Then sometimes I could leave the child with my neighbour and go to a Quran class twice a week. It was a class for reading and recitation of Quran. I always liked having a beautiful reciting voice, and I wanted to be able to read and recite correctly.

Living conditions in Iran were also very difficult. We had no documentation. Once my son’s father was sent back to Afghanistan. The police had arrested him on the street. He called me in the morning and said they were being kept in a camp. I went there with my child to stop them from deporting him. They wouldn’t let me in. They kept saying that you do not have any documents. Then he was taken away out of Iran and deported back to Afghanistan. He was there for two months before he could come back again. After he came back, we left for Turkey.

In Turkey, we first rented a house for a month. That house wasn’t easy to live in. There wasn’t any heating there and it was very cold. My boy’s father would go to work there. After a month we moved to Istanbul and stayed there for a month too. Then we left for Greece.

We were in Greece for a year and a half, mostly in a camp on Lesvos Island, the same one that had a fire later. We lived in these small tents and it was so cold there that in the morning when we woke up, everything inside the tent was wet and covered in dew.  We had been there for nine months when the fire started. Then they transferred us to a new camp. The new camp was somewhat easier to live in. I took several courses when I was there. I went to an English class there, a painting class, and some sport and exercise sessions. I also tried the Greek course they had, and even took a bit of German. There was someone in the camp who knew German and I learned some basic German lessons there, like the alphabet and some words.

After six months in this new camp, we had an interview. They registered our passports and gave us ID cards from Greece. We were told that we should leave the camp and go find somewhere to live. They told us to go to an office to register for finding a house to live in. The Corona pandemic had started by then. We went to this office several times, in the early hours of the morning, but could not get in. It was always closed. We had no money and could not live on the allowance we received. It was only fifty euros per person per month. So, we left for Germany.

It was April of last year when we arrived at the airport in Germany, and they took our IDs and passports and sent us to a camp in Eisenhüttenstadt. From there we were sent to another camp near Berlin and then to this camp here. When we arrived, my husband and I separated and got divorced. He wasn’t understanding or supportive of me. In Greece, we had fallen out and our relationship got worse. I live here with my son now.

I have had a difficult time dealing with this. It is very hard to have your life all destroyed and upside down. I have been suffering emotionally and mentally. It is taking time for me to recover.

There is no daycare here for my son yet. So, I can’t really do stuff on my own. I tried calling a number to find a Kita for my son. They told me they need a document so that they can find us one. I’m still waiting to get that.

I have a neighbour here, and we are very close to each other. She is like a sister to me. I can leave the child with her sometimes. A friend of mine told me that there is a language class in the town here. I leave my child with the neighbour and go to this class twice a week. Other than that, I read books sometimes. I try to read self-help motivational books or go walking outside. Sometimes we go hiking around here with other people too.

The camp here is really comfortable and nice. We feel at ease here. The previous camp was too noisy and crowded. I would love to go out here to play volleyball. There is a court out here but it would be nice to have a sports field too. There is a gym downstairs but it is all filled with men’s gym stuff and it is mostly men who go there to exercise.

I do not have much contact with anyone either here in the camp or in the town. My language teachers are really nice and helpful though, and I love them. They are both German. I am starting to understand some bits of German when I hear it. When I go to the main language class later, I think it will get better more quickly. I’m waiting for the Kita so that I can go and register for that class.

I still need to register with a doctor here. I found one but they would not register me there. Once when my son was sick, I took him to the hospital for treatment. I have this skin condition and my pills are running out soon. I need to get a prescription for that. I should find some other doctor to contact and register. There is the Diakonie office I could call to get help for this.

I think it depends on each person to live well here. I would like to go out and meet people. But I have not had much contact yet and do not know much about people here. Because of the language, I have not talked to many people and don’t know what they think. I am working hard on learning the language now. I would love to go to school later and to university as well. I would love to do sports. I would like to study something related to the arts, perhaps, but I have always been interested in studying medicine too. I’m still not sure yet, but we’ll have to see.

Leave a Reply