Mia comes from Yemen. She was 9 years old and living on the island of Samos, Greece when she drew this picture story about her life, in June 2019.
Everything was black in Yemen. In Yemen I was still in my mummy’s tummy, so I don’t remember, but my mum told me about it. This is a picture of my mum and me in her tummy, this is my dad. This is something going to break the house and destroy it because in Yemen all the houses are being destroyed.
There is someone running after my father because they want to slaughter him. This is fire in one hand and this is a knife, and there is a helicopter shooting. My father and mother are running to the mountains to flee to Lebanon. My father is carrying my mother because she was about to give birth. The rocket is breaking the mountain.
When they arrived in the Lebanon they were taken to a police station where they were given a place to sleep. Then they were taken to the hospital so that my mum could give birth.
My mum is giving birth to me. My dad was waiting. The doctors let him wear a dress so that he could be in the room. This is me, they wrapped me in a pink blanket. That brown bit is my hair and those are both the doctors.
This is the airplane, because my dad needs to go back to Yemen. He wanted to see his family, and he wanted to bring them back. This is me and my mother we are crying, I am seven years old. This is the airport building.
Then someone called my mum and said someone got my dad and killed him because we are Christian. My mum told me how he was killed with a knife.
My mum found a new house and someone got us a dog, and we named him Poochy, and I was very happy. This is my dog, and I am walking him and this is my house. We had police living next door to us which was good. I was really happy because I had my dog.
This is school. This is Rita and all my friends. The school gave us red and blue outfits. I liked everything there, especially my friends. But there were no toys at school and me and my friend Rita were getting new toys and bringing them to the school. And I did not like maths. The teacher was really old, and she kept hitting people with a ruler. One time she hit me on the knees and pulled my hair, just because I answered a question wrong. She hit everyone. We did not like it, so all of us ran away from the class. The principal was in the playground behind a tree, but we managed to take our bags and our food and toys and sneak past.
I had to leave school, because we had to go to Turkey. We had to leave Lebanon because someone in my mother’s family wanted to kill her because she had left everything and given birth and become a Christian. This is Syria, we went through Syria by car. These are all the people who came with us by car to the mountains, there were like 40 people. That’s me, someone was carrying me because I was sleeping and that is my mum. We walked for 19 hours. My mum lost her shoes and we did not have food or water. We did not want the police to take us back to Syria.
Then the police caught us in a taxi on our way to Istanbul. The others had gone to another place so it was just us. We were taken to a prison for foreigners. This is me and my mum in the jail. It was good in there because there were a lot of people from Syria and there were children there. They gave us candy and bought things for us from the supermarket. They were nice to us. We were there for two days.
This is Turkey. My mum is eating in the house. This is me and my two friends, they are Syrians. We stayed there about 4 months, but we could not stay longer because someone from Yemen knew where we were.
We wanted to go to Greece and first we were walking and sleeping in tents. Here we are going to Greece. There were 19 people in the boat and it was bad because there was water coming inside and there were people who had babies with them and there was a lady with a baby in her tummy. It took a very long time, and I was scared I was going to die in the sea, because of the water coming in. I cannot really swim, although I had a ring on.
The police from turkey were following us, but then the Greek coastguards found us in the sea. We were about to die, because the captain was driving really fast. We were telling him to stop and go back to Turkey, because we were all so scared, thinking we might die. The Greeks rescued us and brought us to Samos. Then they put us in prison, and we slept there one night, then we got to the camp.
They gave us a container to live in. there were other big families there, ladies with children. One had a new born baby, and she was with us on the raft. We are sixteen people altogether. I am very happy living in the container because there are people there and I have my friends. I can sleep at night, but the food is not healthy. They give us hamburgers and my mother has to queue. I talk with Rita my friend on WhatsApp. I gave her my dog Poochy when I left, I really miss Poochy.
This is school and this is me and the other children coming there. This is their sign: ‘One Drop in the Ocean’. I like everything at school. I like the teachers, I like the lessons. It’s different, everything is different, it’s better. The teachers are nice and the classes are small.
I want to go and buy my favourite toys and get a dog the same as Poochy, and I want to get out of the camp and go to Athens. And then if we get a passport, we will go to America. That is my dream to go to America, because they have everything nice there. I want to go to Los Angeles.