My name is Cemile. I am 33 years old. I was born in Syria. I got married in 30 years old. Our lives have changed completely with the beginning of the war.
I was born in a village of Syria. I had three brothers. One of them fled abroad and we could not get any news from him. My other two brothers died in war, in Syria. Younger brother was 19 the other was 21 years old. My 21 year old brother got shot in the heart by a sniper while he was riding a motorcycle. My parents died before the war. My father was a worker. But my mother was not working. I had been working at my father’s field, selling tomatoes and peppers. So, our lives were like this. Until the war began.. The war has started and our world has been destroyed. We had been dwelling to each other with my husband’s relatives in Syria and we knew each other. When the persecution was unendurable we began to flee with them. We fled from the village where we live to another village. Then we came to Raqqa and we waited my husband’s brother. Because he would come and take us to İdlib by car. While we were trying to flee, we encountered with checkpoints of the terrorists. When we flee from a checkpoint, we were caught in another. It was too difficult. Terrorists were seising our monies. We had no food,no water.. We were tired and we were running all together. I hurt my leg twice while we were running. We had to flee for all that. If we do not flee we would die. Then we came to valley in İdlib. Its name is “Death Valley”. The valley is near the border of Turkey. It was too long and it was like a torture for people who want to pass. Through the valley we crossed the border of Turkey. When we came to Antakya my husband found a car. Thus, we immigrated to İstanbul with my husband’s relatives and their children by car. We stayed in İstanbul for 20 days. I got engaged with my husband in İstanbul and we got married. My husband was married and he had children. I had to get married with him because I had no my relatives nor a job. What else could I do? After we stayed in İstanbul for 20 days we went to Tekirdağ and we stayed in Tekirdağ for 10 months. My husband could not find a job in Tekirdağ. We started to live with my husband’s relatives because we had no money. I wanted to work in a factory but they did not recruit me because I had no work permission since I am a Syrian.
Then we went to Edirne (Turkey) because my husband could not find a job. After that my husband found a job. He was going to houses to paint walls. We were getting money to survive this way. By the time, my first child died in my stomach when I was 4 months pregnant. It was a boy. Next, I got pregnant with my daughter. When I was 6 months pregnant, my husband wanted to flee abroad. I did not want to go to with him at the time because I was pregnant. Fortunately, I did not go with him because after my husband fled abroad, he got caught by constabulary and was deported. If I ever go back to Syria with him, I do not want to think what could happen.
I came back to Tekirdağ because I needed care since I was pregnant. I stayed with my husband’s relatives.After birth I had to came back to Edirne firstly because our relatives were supposed to go to the provinces where they got registered by the Turkish government and secondly I was supposed to go to the province where I got registered and that was Edirne.
Meanwhile, I also got divorced with my husband. After divorce my husband wanted to take my daughter from me and I said I would never give her to him because he was not with me during birth and when our baby was sick.
When I came to Edirne, I had nothing. My money, my home, my foods and my husband were gone. Really, I had nothing. Only me and my 5-month-old daughter.
I was spending my days looking for a house in the bazaar from morning to evening. One day, a woman saw us on the street while me and my daughter were crying. And she asked me “Why are you crying?” I said to her “I am looking for a house since eight o’clock in the morning with my baby, but I could not find anything.” And she told me “There is a real estate agent down the road, you can find a house there.”
I called my husband’s relatives in Edirne and I told them everything. Then, we went to real estate agent. He told me that there were a house with two rooms. That day, we made the contract and gave the first rent. First two weeks were very difficult though. There was no electricity, food or water.
I slept on a blanket with my baby. When I find bread I did not eat but instead I was feeding my baby. I could not bear it anymore, until when I was going to live like this? I had to work and look after my baby. I explained this situation to my husband’s relatives and asked them if they would take care of my baby in case I start working. They did not accept it because my husband’s relative has 2 wifes and their house is too crowded.
I lived like this for 3 moths. I found an association in Edirne dealing with the problems refugees and went there and told them about my situation. The association gave me 250 liras for urgent need. My baby was ill with kidneys because she was lying on the floor. and association attendants took her to the hospital by a car and they had her treated. God bless them.
There is one more association dealing with the problems of refugees in Edirne. Edirne Migration Administration called this association and wanted them to help me and my daughter. But this association said that they could not help us because they had some problems with Syrians but they could refer us to another association. A week after this situation, second-hand seats, beds, kitchen utensils, curtains, television, quilts and clothes were provided through associations. But my husband’s relatives wanted to take some of them (television , curtains) from me.
They told me: “Give us these curtains and we will give you a better one.” “Give us this television, your daughter does not need to watch because she is baby, but we have 9 children, they can watch it.”
I had nothing and how could I give to them? I did not even have a refrigerator. 3 weeks ago, I got a second-hand refrigerator through associations. I still do not have a stove to cook. I have a good neighbor, she gives me a small gas tube and I cook my food above it. God bless her. But I do not have coal to burn. The weather started to get cold and my little baby is also cold at home. I want to work and earn money to take care of my daughter. But my baby is very small. I can not leave her. What can I say?
Nevertheless, thank God for everything.