‘The Day I Almost Gave Up’ by Daniel, Year 9

My name is Anwar, and here is my tale. Today was the day we were going to flee to a better place. I used to reside in Aleppo, Syria. I planned to depart with virtually my entire family. We were at my grandparents’ house when I was eight years old, and I remember it like it was yesterday. We were all gathering our belongings and preparing to leave this horrific place. Nevertheless, without a car or another means of transportation to travel with, travelling from here to the location we needed to go to, would take some time to accomplish.

Now, getting set to leave the house and embark on a journey to who knows where, despite everything that had been on our minds. We only knew that if we were to survive, we had to go to another country. The fight was intense now, and leaving our cherished home was the only option, no matter how painful it was. Most of our close family was gone, dead, or killed, and all we were told was that they were “casualties of war” which meant we had to learn how to cope with it “or else.”

As I was leaving the house, I couldn’t help but look around. What I saw appalled me; there were bodies everywhere. People, humans, and loved ones, are dispersed all over the floor. I began to tremble because I recognised some of those people; we were all relatives. We were happy at some point. Now, corpses devoid of heads, legs, and hands. When I questioned my grandfather why this was occurring, he just looked at me and said, “We need to leave now.” I could feel his pain, which was so raw and real that it hurt just knowing it. I was hoping that we may be saved, but the devastation that I had just witnessed sickened me to my core. My mother walked over to see where I was and was sickened to see the bodies all over the street; she simply cried.

We continued our journey in the middle of the night, not knowing what to anticipate. We were presumably on our way to a refugee camp that would assist us in crossing to a ‘place of sanctuary,’ as they called it. My house was my sanctuary; I didn’t want to go, and I hadn’t asked for it. We were abruptly informed that safe transit had been arranged and that we needed to leave immediately. We were off again, bundled like animals onto a cart hidden from view.

‘Wake up, Anwar, we’re here,’ was all I could hear. My mother’s voice woke me up from a deep slumber. It was cold, white stuff on the floor, and there was a faint smell of food in the distance.

My name is Anwar, and I am twelve years old. I’ve learned how to survive.