Migrants traveling with a heavy heart and light bag

Left for Europe without imagining the hardships that awaited them, migrants often have to lighten and recompose their bags over their journey, spreading behind them the memories of their past life in the hope of a better kiss.

Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans or Sudanese, all have the same essential in their bags: clothing, medicines, papers and money.

Some have tried to take over. “I was left with three bags, one large and two small,” said Khaddam Ghaiath.

Arriving at the border between Croatia and Slovenia, after thirteen days of travel, this former employee of the Syrian Maritime Customs who travels with his mother 70 years has more than a backpack, reduced to the essentials.

“Especially clothing. They are for my mother. I have some underwear for me, but otherwise I have only what I wear on me, “pants, a shirt, a long sleeve polo shirt and a windbreaker, he explains, continuing inventory, “a drug kit for diabetes mother, soles, cigarettes …”

No personal object. He had taken his laptop, “but I left with friends in Turkey.” Valuables can be a source of trouble, and the crossing of the Mediterranean is perilous.

Mostafa, he had to give up his business on the Turkish shores “The smugglers did not want us to take our bags: too heavy, too bulky.”

“Inside, I had my Adidas, my Lee (Lee Cooper jeans),” sighs the engineer in 31 years of building, the comfortable standard of living in Iraq. Arrived in Europe, he has gleaned three T-shirts, pants, socks, and even an umbrella when the rain is invited.

The phone memory box

But he always treasured his smartphone, “with two batteries.”

For many migrants, the phone is the only link with their past life. It allows to maintain contact with family back home, with friends who have taken a different route. It is also the most compact memory boxes.

Mostafa scrolls pictures of Baghdad, his house, his car … His finger stops on an image of his wife with his son Mohammed (6 years) and her daughter Lila (2 years). He raises his head, sending his eyes as far as possible in one breath and keeps the bead tears at the corners of his eyes.

Lying next to him, one of his friends shows a photo of a young man in uniform, blue eyes and mustache neatly trimmed horseshoe. “It’s me, I was a policeman,” he slips, unrecognizable with his gaunt face and sallow.

Omar Khaldi, fresh graduate in architecture, did not want to settle for virtual memory. He left some clothes in the road, but clings to photos of a dead childhood friend last few years, gifts from her parents and a diary he carried. “But I do not watch them. That’s for later, to remember, “says the young man of 23 years.

In that space of intimacy, women preciously keep a little makeup, children cling to a soap bubble tube or a doll offered along the way.

Sirin, Iraqi sexagenarian face encircled by a green veil, there hides his little secret.

While the wait drags on the border crossing Bregana, it is isolated behind a tent. From his handbag worn leather, she extracted a pack of cigarettes and bashed application of fire to a man nearby. It shows a group installed a few meters away: his family. Index on the lips, she implores the look with the utmost discretion.

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