One of the most striking things about Bashar is how warm, generous and overwhelmingly positive he is. Without probing – and you do have to probe – you would never know the trauma that he has been through.
Perhaps it is not remarkable; all of the Syrian refugees I met when I visited Calais were equally warm and welcoming. It was their generosity that really struck me though; these people who had so little were so keen to show us hospitality. It was their way of thanking us for the bags of food we brought and the odd jobs my friends did around their makeshift homes.
Khairun Dhala, who runs the Marhabtayn Syrian Supper Club, tells me that “Syrians are very hospitable people”. One of the aims of their supper club is to show people that and “counter the image of refugees being scroungers or just wanting to take benefits.” It’s a friendly space where people can feel welcome, enjoy a good meal and learn a bit about Syrian food and culture.