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Blog → May 1, 2018

Resettled Life after Refugee Camps

Akhtar With His Boss Thomas Eichhorn And His Son Kamil

Written by Kristi Burton

One chilly morning last October, I enjoyed the day I spent photographing father and son, Akhtar and Kamil. Behind my lens, I captured their day from beginning to end. I was touched by their faith and courage in spite of all they have been through. 

An expert craftsman in marble and granite, Akhtar had a successful business in Damascus. His five stores and home were completely destroyed by bombs. He lost so much. After living in a couple refugee camps, Akhtar took his son, Kamil, and made the difficult journey to Germany, where they were able to find work, first as apprentices in a stone quarry (though they are already masters of the trade). They are pleased to be able to use their specialized skills in their new country. 

Although discouraged that their family is still in a camp in Lebanon, they hope to reunite with them soon. I was so impressed with how they are making the most out of their current circumstances.

This is a day in their life.

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Kamil and Akhtar studying German in their attic bedroom before work about 4am
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Akhtar's German language study
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Akhtar making breakfast.
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Akhtar offering me some apples for breakfast.
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Behind the scenes. Akhtar speaking to his wife on the phone.
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Waiting for the bus to go to work.
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Bus ride.
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The stone quarry where they work.
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They began as interns at the stone quarry (which is ironic since they were both masters of the trade) and now have jobs there.
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Akhtar laughing with stone quarry owner, Thomas Eichorn.
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Akhtar, Thomas Eichhorn (owner of the stone quarry) and Kamil. Thomas is very pleased with their work and is impressed with their positive attitudes being so far from their family. He gives them rides from the bus stop to the factory every morning.
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Akhtar and Kamil taking a moment to laugh on the job site.
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