Lenora Lemke sits in a car packed with all her belongings, shielded from the desert sun by a large carpet that hangs over the roof. The 19-year-old tugs at the hijab that frames her pale face and tries to remember the last time she took a shower. She realizes it’s been exactly 20 days since she wiped herself down after giving birth to her new baby, Maria.
“After my birth, I made warm water and I was cleaning down there,” she said, looking down in embarrassment. Squirming in her lap is her other daughter, Habiba, 16 months old with tufts of blonde hair.
When prompted, Lemke produced a burgundy passport with Germany’s federal eagle emblazoned in gold on the cover, certain in her mind that she’ll be able to bring her children home to Germany soon.