Train to anywhere but here

Croatia's answer to refugee crisis; fast track processing and train trip. TRT World talks to refugees on Croatia/Serbia border

Photo by: TRT WORLD
Photo by: TRT WORLD

Tovarnik, Croatia- "Where's the train going?" Asks Hamid, hanging out the window of the passenger locomotive, smoking a cigarette. He speaks Dari and comes from Afghanistan. Other men, hanging out the windows next to him ask the same. Apparently no one will tell them where they are headed. 

I ask another man where he is going, all he repeats is "home."

They are on a train at the Tovarnik station.

They seem almost bemused, not worried about where they're off to. "I'll go anywhere," shouts down another Afghan, "somewhere we can have a good life."

Most of the refugees that have arrived in Croatia from Serbia during the past 48 hours are from Afghanistan, with others from Syria, Iraq and a few from Iran.

They're sodden, soaking, most were stuck in a no mans land between Serbia and Croatia overnight, says Hamid Reza, from Iran.

"We could have come a drier way but they kept us in the jungle, in the mud, in the rain until they let us on the bus."

Still he says, if he can make it to Sweden where he has family, this journey will all be worth it.

They've been processed, given Id with their names, numbers and photos. Then they're taken to the trains to set out on the next part of their journeys.

The police say the trains are going to Hungary.

The buses line the road beside the tracks, about 10 deep. Rubbish is strewn on the ground, a shoe forgotten, a child's doll lies in the mud. Lines and lines of people wait for permission to board.

Zahra is one. Short, tanned and bearing the face of an Afghan Hazara, she reels off a short list of wishes for her new life, wherever that may be, "I just want to study, be safe and live in peace."

Next to her, Masoud Hassan agrees, "My only wish is to go somewhere and live in peace, surrounded by family, happy and healthy."

They finally get on the trains, and despite a long and uncertain journey ahead, at least they know, smiling and waving, they're one step closer to reaching their goals.

Author: Soraya Lennie