Fasala’s eyes fill with tears as she tells us that her phone is broken and she can’t turn it on. “My three daughters are back in Syria, and I can’t contact them without my phone.”
Fasala, who insists that we call her ‘Mama’, left Syria 5 years ago with her husband, Namist, and son, Ahmed, who is now 10 years old. When the war first broke out in Syria, safety became their primary concern and when that was no longer guaranteed at home, they made the decision to flee. Fasala had to sell her home and possessions in Syria to afford the trip, but even with those finances, there still wasn’t enough money for the whole family to flee, which left them with a choice that no family should ever endure: stay together at risk of their lives, or split up in hopes of safely reuniting in a better place one day.
So her three daughters stayed behind with their husbands, while Fasala, Namist, and their youngest child, Ahmed, fled, spending some years in Iraq and then Turkey, before ultimately deciding to cross the sea to Greece, looking for safety and a new life in Europe.
Now that her daughters remain in Syria under constant threats of violence, and her family has been separated across two continents, her phone is her most important resource. Like the rest of our generation, a broken phone is a difficult feat, but for Fasala and Namist, a broken phone means they are not able to check whether or not their daughters are still safe. And that uncertainty and fear are too much to bear.
Photo: Clara Veale / Story: Voices of Refugees