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How Two Syrian Women Are Weathering the Refugee Crisis

On the floor of a tiny hotel room in downtown Athens, Reem crouches as she boils chickpeas on a camping stove.

“Come in, we have guests!” she bellows at two of her neighbors, waving at her from the door frame. She has an infectious smile, and when it comes to inviting guests for dinner, it seems that she won’t take no for an answer.

Eight months ago, Reem and her two youngest children—seven year old twin girls, Yara and Yusra—packed their bags in Damascus, hoping to leave the war in Syria behind them and join her husband and oldest son in Germany. However when they arrived in Greece, they found out that the borders had closed—leaving them stuck, not knowing how or when they could continue their journey. After a short stay in a refugee camp, the Greek army moved them to the ironically named, and abandoned, Hotel Dream in downtown Athens. For the better part of one year, the mahogany-colored hotel room with a single-sized mattress, peeling paint, and a view of an abandoned warehouse has been home.

 “We cook dinner together like this every night,” Nour, her neighbor—and now, best friend—shares, lovingly rolling her eyes at Reem yelling at the door, chopping cucumbers and tomatoes for a salad. Like Reem, Nour is also in her early thirties, traveling with two small children and trying to get to Germany but stuck in the abandoned hotel.

Without a kitchen, or even a refrigerator, Reem and Nour cook using donated camping gear and keep vegetables from falling victim to the Athenian humidity by laying them side by side in an ever-so-slightly cooler bathtub. The once generously-stocked pantry at the Hotel Dream is running low, but it doesn’t stop either from embodying every stereotype of over-the-top Syrian hospitality.

Read the rest of the article at Glamour.