Photo by Elias Sharifi

At the refugee camp of Schisto, you may find the most beautiful gardens in Attica

From beginners to master gardeners there’s always something new and fun to discover about home gardening, but this time it’s a different story.

Afghan people have a clean habit to make themselves busy all the time. In their country, they were always busy working the whole day, but here life is way way different from Afghanistan. The men are unemployed staying in the same place the whole day, which makes them feel bored so they decided to cultivate their own gardens in a refugee camp in front of their containers. 

Nobody dreamed that a refugee camp would become a newspapers attraction. 

The camp’s council has declared that people cannot build and make anything farther than their given space, as a way to preserve the camps look, otherwise the camp will look blocked and the people would not be able to cross their ways. 

The majority of those who live in the Schisto Refugee camp are Afghan people. Protecting the camps unique feel and community is something that is important to locals. 

We talked with some of the people living there and asked them about their beautiful gardens.

How long it took to complete this garden?

Well, it took me almost two years to complete it. People first said this is waste of time but when I finished all those people who said this is waste of time are appreciating me today, I have different kinds of flowers like lilies, roses, sunflowers and more, said Mr. Hashim…  

What’s the opinion about your garden? 

My name is Farid and I’m from Afghanistan. In my country I had a small Garden, so I thought why not here!? I made my own tiny garden with plants like boston ivy, areca palm and dracaena.

What does your garden mean to you?

My garden reminds me of my backyard in Afghanistan. I used to have sheeps, ducks, and chickens, but here I have only 2 white pigeons and a pair of rabbits. I do have different kinds of vegetables and herbs though, like parsley, mint, oregano, bell peppers and tomatoes in my garden here, which I use for salads. In the evenings when I drink my tea, this garden reminds me of Afghanistan. My garden means a lot to me, said Mr Samim.

Beautiful garden!!

I’m not sure that I have the best garden, but I can clearly say that I have the best flowers in different colors. I have azalea, begonia, rosemallows, sunflowers and roses.

There were people though who decide not to have one.

Why don’t you have a garden, like your neighbor?

I don’t have the garden because in some months I’ll leave Greece to go to Germany with my family. It has a lot of responsibility but I would love to have a garden or yard.

While i was researching for this article, I talked with someone special, a teenage boy from Afghanistan. He came to Greece all by himself. Alone. He said, “I used to help my father while gardening, so I learned from my father how to grow plants and give them water and how to take care of my garden. One of my friends helped me while planting. I have a bench and a table so I can sit in my garden with my friends and enjoy my afternoons. I dedicated my garden to my mother’’. 

I really enjoyed talking to them.

Photos by Elias Sharifi

Morteza Rahimi