Ahmad and Fuad
These two boys met at the School Squat in the Exarchia neighborhood in Athens. A school building that had been abandoned for years, the squat (more information here) is now home to refugee families mostly from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.
All over Greece, Arabs, Kurds, Afghan, and Iranian refugees live together in difficult conditions. This mixture of cultures has sometimes led to fighting between Afghan and Syrian people. At this school squat, according to the two boys, Afghans and Syrians are friends.
(Audio excerpt of the joint interview with Ahmad and Fuad- Arabic and English)
Fuad remembers that on island of Chios in Souda camp, when it came to serving food, Afghanis only let Afghanis take food in the line and Syrians would only give food to Syrians.
But Ahmad and Fuad were fast friends. Though, one thing did only become clear to Ahmad over the course of the interview:
Ahmad: You are Muslim? Are there a lot of Muslims in Afghanistan?
Fuad: All Afghans are Muslims!
Despite being friends for almost a month, they were still learning about each other. Chalk it up to the language barrier. Ahmad speaks only Arabic, while Fuad speaks Farsi, English, and just a bit of Arabic.
Together, they speak of their gratitude to Kastro, the Greek man who runs the squat.
Ahmad: Kastro is a really good guy, if he saw anyone sleeping in the street he would bring her to the school and give her money.
Fuad: Once, an Afghani guy didn’t have money to go the hospital so Kastro gave him some money.
Ahmad: Kastro takes care of us and asks what we need. Some Greek people come on Friday and Saturday to cook. People in the school who have money prefer to buy food, but those who don’t are forced to eat from the Greek people.
There are a few people who got money from relatives but a lot of people who are just staying in the school don’t have any money or anything.
Kastro also got chicken and rice just for the pregnant women.
Ahmad and Fuad have a lot of friends in the school squat. They all hang out in “the guys’ room” where around thirty young guys talk and smoke hashish. They decorated the room with lights and keep it clean. They all go swimming together on the weekends.