One of the boys that I tutored in English is a refugee from Afghanistan. He is only a few months older than my son Isaac. After his father was killed by a bomb recently he fled from Afghanistan with his extended family. In the words of his uncle, "The Taliban, they mess everything up."
Over lunch he told me about the trip. It was quite harrowing. The border from Afghanistan into Iran was closed, so they had to go into Pakistan first and then into Iran. At one point they had twelve people crammed into a small car. At another point in the journey they walked twelve hours in one day. From Iran they made their way into Turkey and from Turkey they hired a smuggler to ship them to Greece. The unscrupulous boat captain took a high price from each member of his cargo and then proceeded to load over seventy people into a boat that was only 9 meters long. It must have been riding low in the water. The waves rolled in quite high. As he told the story his eyes grew very wide. "The waves were two meters high!"
They survived the passage and are hoping to start a better life in a more stable place. He speaks good English and has a winning smile. Like many children in Greece, the U.S. and the MIddle-East he loves watching sports on T.V. and he follows pop music. In many ways he is like many 12-year old's that I know in the states.