Photo by Elias Sharifi

A new personality

Life in the camp has changed me. I am fed up with my old self, my “egoism” and the words “I want”. I now look out for other people and their problems. I have now decided to talk to you about this new personality of mine so that you can see how circumstances change people.

When I feel the warmth on me from the moment I wake up, I know there is nothing that can upset me throughout the course of the day. That is the new “me” that has emerged since I became a refugee.

Despite the various problems and difficulties, this new personality moves, breathes and persists. Its endurance and determination never run out. Unfortunately, this personality is also a bit unstable.

Every evening, this new personality of mine appears to crack, and as the night falls, the cracks deepen. When the camp is plunged into total darkness, my old personality reappears and I become anxious, restless and fearful until I can no longer function and my heart beats far too quickly.

It absorbs and negates all the composure that I have acquired during the day and it takes me back, it makes me live once more in my house, the house that no longer exists. My home is made of canvas now.

I go back. I write my dreams down on paper, and then I look at them and smile as if they will come alive at any moment. These days however I don’t think of either my dreams or my hopes…

I close my eyes and think of the morning to come. I feel I have become familiar with my new personality these past few months. I have created a far more enduring and patient person than I was, someone who is not brought down by a mountain of problems.

My new personality has coloured the world. My new personality does not worry about Cinderella’s lost slipper, it doesn’t become sad nor dream about living in a luxury home.

These days my personality worries about the pair of shoes that I would like to offer a compatriot of mine – a barefoot child.  In the morning, my new personality is calm. Daytime is lovely; please pray for my nights.



PS. This was written while Mahdiah lived in the Refugee Camp at Schisto. At the beginning of 2018, she moved to an apartment in the centre of Athens. Meanwhile living conditions at Schisto have improved and the tents have been replaced by containers.

Photo by Elias Sharifi

Mahdiah Hossaini