"… starting at the bus station … I ran and ran and there was no end. I have been asking myself, "When will I get to that HEIM?" and I ran and ran and kept on running. I ran into the HEIM and then I saw the security guard. The security guard was tall and I was scared. His head was bold and I was scared. Then I went to the room. It was empty and cobwebbed and dirty and - to be honest - the inside of the fridge looked like the inside of a garbage can. We would clean everything and we even found something to get rid of all the cobwebs … We would clean every day.
When I got here and when I saw the rooms - one and then the other - I was so agitated, so very agitated, and that was horrible. I asked my mother "Where should I sleep?" After a week we were told that we were to stay here for the next three months.
The first day I was here … I would miss Syria so much. I would say "Here, I am sitting in a room and there is nothing I can do. Back home, I could watch television and I would understand everything. Here - nothing to look at, nothing to listen to. I have been here for a year now. I don't feel that well. I was very happy when you came. Someone to work with. You can understand me and I can understand you too. I was so happy. But when you got here, I had already been here for eight months. So basically it has not been good, nothing has been good.
It is always horrible here and even if some things are good - it is still horrible. It is always better to have an apartment. No matter whether it is big or small but you do need an apartment. To have some peace and quiet, for your children, for everything you have, it is always better. Everyone is bothering you here. And my mother doesn't sleep all that well. But we know that there is nothing we can do about it. We are looking for an apartment … we really have to go because … one cannot stay here. It's horrible in here and not good at all.
But there is nothing we can do. It has not been all that good in Syria either. It's the war. We had to leave our apartment. But my grandma's neighbor was nice enough to give us another apartment. We would stay there for a year and then my father decided, "It can't go on like this. No matter how hard it will be, we have to go to Germany or another country." In Syria, day-by-day, 24 hours, Boom! Boom! Boom! A huge bomb hit my grandma's apartment. My grandma is hard of hearing. She saw the water running and said, "Look at this, the water - well, who cares …" But then there was more and more water and sand and then the whole apartment was sand and water and dirtiness."
Khaled is 11 years old and lived in Damascus until 2014.
This text is an abbreviated transcription of the original audio recording.The story is published without comment nor valuation, out of respect for the subjectif perception of the author.