This is Hassan.
He left his country after his parents died. His sister had already fled to Germany, his brother to England, and he had nothing left there but danger and fear.
Due to the situation in his country he was unable to find work there either. With no job, no money and no family, he felt left with no choice but to leave his beloved homeland.
He made his way to Turkey where he crossed the Mediterranean Sea in an overcrowded boat (a far too familiar story). As the boat reached the shores of Lesvos, panic broke out amongst the people fighting their way to the safety of dry land. The boat capsized and Hassan landed on his ankle, feeling it snap beneath him.
For this reason, he was not able to make the journey to Moria camp, up in the hills of Lesvos, to register for European papers, a process which can mean waiting in line for days on end. He was sent to Pikpa Lesvos for vulnerable refugees to recover and regain the necessary strength for the next part of his journey.
This is where Dan met him. They soon formed a close friendship and Dan asked him if he had contact details for his brother in the UK. He had a phone number which Dan promptly called and watched as the brothers spoke for the first time since their father’s death over a year ago.
Dan and Hassan’s friendship grew and when Hassan was ready, Dan, along with the Pikpa team, accompanied him to Moria to get the papers he needed to continue on to Germany to be reunited with his sister. Before he left the island he asked for Dan’s phone number so they could keep in contact. As he keyed it into his phone, Dan noticed over his shoulder that he had saved it as:
‘Dan Best Friend in Greece’.
When they parted he told Dan, ‘I’ll never forget you and your help bro.’
He has since kept Dan updated on his journey across Europe. He told him of his struggles in Serbia where he wrote, ‘the soldiers treat us like slaves.’ On New Years Eve he messaged Dan to tell him he had finally made it to Germany to see the New Year in with his sister. Dan was over the moon.
Hassan wrote to Dan, ‘my story is coming to an end finally,’ but Dan replied, ‘No Hassan…your story is only just beginning..’
*Hassan’s name has been changed