Monday, October 6, 2008

Without my brother

This is Petrus, about to be roused from a late-morning sleep by his 18-month-old nephew Mario.

(If you're totally lost on this post, see the previous post here with background on this Iraqi refugee story.)

Petrus was granted "Duldung," a kind of temporary residency in Germany while his brother Ziyad was deported to Greece. He's living with his eldest sibling and her family in Munich.

He seems to be doing well, except for the fact that his brother is stuck homeless in Greece.

Abir, left, is Petrus and Ziyad's sister. She and her husband have been in Germany for the past 10 years. When they were all children, Abir was always the one who looked after the younger ones, because she was the eldest and also female. So in some ways, Abir has been a mother all her life.


Alejandro and Manuel, two more of Abir's children, help Petrus learn how to say and write his phone number and birth date in German. Petrus was living in a refugee housing complex in Baden-W├╝rttemburg up until just a few weeks ago, when he was granted permission to move to Munich to be close to family.

Petrus quit school after 4th grade, so learning the new language is a challenge for him.

Abir, who can speak German, steps in to help. In Iraq, the children all learned Arabic in school, but the family spoke only Aramaic at home.

Tickle fight with Manuel, 6.

Adel is Abir's husband. He said he feels a huge responsibility for Ziyad, whom he views as a son.

Petrus heads off to his first day of work. (I haven't gained access there yet, but I think it'll happen eventually...)

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