The Refugee story was, at times heartbreaking. On the one hand you had people who were leaving secure jobs in Kosovo for an uncertain further, and on the other hand, families who were living on 60 or 70 Euro a month. The common denominator among all of the people we spoke to was that they wanted to work for a better future.
We met 24 year old Sherif (seen on large Photograph in the tear sheet) who sold fire wood for a living, at the Pristina bus station with his wife and two little children. They received money from his wife’s family living in Switzerland, to do the trip. They were anticipating the 20 Km treck across the green Border between Serbia and Hungary to be difficult but worth the risk.
At the airport of Pristina there was another scene unfolding. On every flight coming back from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (via Croatia), we would meet 10-15 refugees who were sent back. They would receive cab fare at the office of repatriation, to make their way home.
You could see on their faces that their experience fell very short of their hopes and dreams. Disillusioned, exhausted, and dirty, they returned home to more of what they wanted to leave in the first place. Many walked in to the arrival hall avoiding eye contact with the people waiting for vacationing relatives.
We were able to talk to one of these returnees at the airport. The taxi he hired to bring him from Hungary to Germany was driving much to fast, and was stopped by the police. He ended up in Austria, from where he was sent home.