Ahmad, 25 years old

I came to Lebanon in November 2011. I thought I would soon be going back home so I did not bring anything except for an old photo collection I had at home. The pictures are mostly family photos, and lots of photographs of my son, whom I love dearly.

The clashes in Aleppo, the city I come from, started during the month of Ramadan. It got to a point where any movement became nearly impossible. My area was being patrolled by members of the Free Syrian Army, with regime checkpoints surrounding the district, so going to work was not possible anymore. We went from Aleppo to Damascus by bus and it took 14 hours. Then we travelled to Beirut, and finally we set off on route to Tripoli. I used to previously work there for an old man. I called him and he invited me to his farm. Afterwards, he gave me this house where I have been living ever since without paying rent.

Before I decided to move here with my whole family I came on my own, to see if I could get work. I took a bus and on the way to the border, the army opened fire at us. There were a few buses on the route and they were shooting at us all. People were wounded; there was blood. The bus drivers just drove as fast as they could, with flat tires, and they did not stop until we were out of reach of the army. Only then did we help the wounded and exchange the tires.

My siblings are in Turkey. I chose to go to an Arab country because at least here, I do not feel muted. My job requires me to be able to communicate with people. I work in the aluminum casting industry. I have a little workshop, which I live off of.

I miss my mother more than anything else. I could not see her before she passed away…