The girl that felt “unique”

This is a short story written as part of the Erasmus+ “Change your life, Open your mind” programme. The 1st Experimental Primary School Of Thessaloniki – AUTH took part in the programme after a visit by refugee children to the school. 

A home is not a soulless building, it’s not just a space. Home means something different to each one of us. It means family, memories, friends. It is a place where you feel safe and where you have spent the first years of your life. A home means a great deal and you wouldn’t leave it easily. But if you did leave, you wouldn’t abandon it because you wanted to, but because you had to. 

I had to leave my home and my country because of the war and because of the actions of some people. My house, my school, my neighbourhood, my friends are all lost, there is nothing left. But why would anyone want to destroy our houses? Why would they throw us out of our homeland? Why can’t we live in peace?

It feels like yesterday that the first bomb hit my neighbourhood. It was summer and all the children were outside, playing in the parks. Then all of a sudden, a siren began to wail and in a few moments the sky was full of small planes throwing what looked like black dots. We began to run and headed for a basement. There were deafening noises all around, people running in panic and babies crying. We stayed in the basement till nightfall. Then we went home and turned on the TV. The war had begun.

The next day we woke up really early, packed our things and headed with other families towards the sea. There we would get on a boat and go to Greece. We walked from city to city while other families joined us along the way. One day we managed to reach the sea. But in order to get into the boat we needed money. My family had money, so we managed to board the boat and set off.  But the other families did not get on the boat with us and I have not seen them since then. 

We spent many days in the boat, it was packed and it was very cold. After several days we reached Greece. There, I met Mr. Dimitris and Mrs. Meropi or Mary. Mr. Dimitris is a baker and he bakes the best bread. Mrs. Mary is a dressmaker and she sews the best clothes. Mr. Dimitris and Mrs. Mary helped us until we  were able to find somewhere to live.

Of course, nothing is the same. Everyone speaks, dresses and eats differently. But I do not mind at all, because I have set myself a goal to create new memories, and make new friends. And in any case, since everyone else is different, I am unique!

Maria-Eleni Demertzi