“After six months of waiting, my new life can start.”

“After six months of waiting, my new life can start.”

“Finally, it is going to happen. In early May I have an intake appointment with the immigration office in Ter Apel! After six months of waiting, my new life can start. A lot of people at the asylum centre are doing their intake in early May. Some people are excited, they talk about it all the time. Some are nervous about the procedure. I am mainly relaxed, relieved!

I hope I can move to a better place soon, where I can cook, for example, although actually I don’t really like cooking. What I will miss most about the Van Swietenlaan is the fire alarm. It often goes off because people are heating something in the microwave, and then forget about it. I’m often there before the security people: turn the microwave off, reset the alarm …

Yesterday was the first time I talked to my father, my mother and my brother directly on the phone. Before then, we only communicated through WhatsApp. It was nice to hear each other’s voices! But at the same time, none of us knew what to say. They are still in the city Deir al-Zour. Some 300,000 people live there, but it is smaller than Groningen. Living conditions are cramped.  Assad is in control, but the city has been surrounded for months by IS. Food arrives by plane: bread, flour, tomatoes, it’s not much.

I don’t actually know if my family could come if I get a residence permit. They want to leave Syria, but I think they would be better off in another Arab country–Jordan, Lebanon, or Egypt. No, peace is still far away, the Russians are still there. Not much has changed, although at the moment there is less news.

I had planned to go to Amsterdam on King’s Day, but now I think I’ll stay here. I’ll have to go look for something orange, because everyone has to dress up, right?“


Mohammad Al-Mansour, from Damascus, Syria


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