100 Strangers Project - 27/100 / by Michael Pung

Finding a new home. From Left to right: Anas, Oula, Sumaia, Bassam and Rama.

Traveling brings opportunities to meet new people.  From travellers to locals, I'm interested in meeting everyone.  Through my time in Turkey, I have been fortunate enough to encounter a variety of amazing individuals.  Among those were a few that I met in a humble hostel dorm within the city of Izmir, on the Turkish west coast.

Some weeks ago, I met a family of five who have been traveling since 2013 from their hometown of Damascus, Syria.  Sumaia and Bassam were traveling with their two daughters: Rama and Oula and their son in law: Anas.  They told me that one day, they arrived home from a trip to Egypt to discover that their house was ransacked and have since been on a journey to find a new home for themselves.  That's when they made the painstaking decision to leave their home to find somewhere new to live.  Through the last two years, the family have moved around Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.  And now they are in the process of making the long journey to Germany.

Sumaia and Bassam

Anas and Oula

Making the trip to Germany isn't an easy trip as they would have to take a boat from Bodrum to Greece and then pass through the borders of Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and then finally into the land of their choice, where their two other daughters are living.  


The youngest daughter, Rama recalled a time when she was stuck in school during a siege.  She witnessed her friend and her friend's father being shot at and had to stay under a desk in the classroom for 6 hours.  She thanked her teacher for keeping her safe throughout the ordeal and helping her escape to safety.  Though, despite all that has happened to her and her family, she's looking forward to finishing her studies and wants to someday work for the Secret Service.

"My mum said one day I'll wake up and find out that this is a dream." said Rama.

Oula described their homeland as place of beauty and up until the war, everything was safe.  They hope to eventually stay in a country for a long time.

From the time I met them, I recognised a warmth and a sense of optimism and recently, I have learned that they have just gotten into Germany to start a new chapter in their lives.  Thank you for letting me hear your story and I hope things all go well in your new home.

On their way