Meet the Syrian refugee taking Brazil’s Big Brother by storm

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Kaysar Dadour was recovering from the fifth surgery on his right leg at a hospital in Odessa, southern Ukraine, when he heard a voice suggesting that he seek his cousins ​​in Brazil. “It was not just an intuition. It seemed like someone was talking really loud,” he told his friends.

Moving to Brazil was the end of five years of suffering in that country.

Six months earlier, the Big Brother Brazil 18 participant returned from work when he came face-to-face with a nationalist gang and was beaten for carrying a crucifix around his neck. He ended up with his right leg broken in four parts and his left arm in three.

Not to mention to his parents about the aggression, he called home to Aleppo in northern Syria, and asked Abdo Abage, honorary consul of Syria of Brazil and his cousin, Diane, the housewife. Abdo sent a letter to the Brazilian embassy in Ukraine asking for help in releasing him. A month later, in June of 2014, Kaysar finally arrived at the Curitiba airport.

He was received by another cousin, Nassib Abage. They had not seen each other for years, but they remembered meeting at family dinners. “His parents were very cheerful and whenever he came to visit, they made a point of promoting a party. We spent the night dancing to the sound of mandolins, “recalls his cousin.

Parents – who have not seen the child personally for more than eight years, are following the BBB online. ‘His mother thinks Kaysar is swinging a lot,’ says his cousin.

Unaware of the customs of his distant relative, the Abage brothers decided to take him to an apartment. As the rent was expensive, about 15,000 Reals a year, ten months later they decided that he would live in the house of Nassib.

Single and childless, the youngest of the Abage brothers lives in a comfortable two-story house in the center of Curitiba. He rebuilt the top floor and built a 100-square-meter two-bedroom apartment for Kaysar, 28. As he knows of his cousin’s passion for sports, Nassib set up a gym for the guest in one of the rooms. Owner of a network of stores of electrical materials with the family, Nassib also guaranteed a monthly allowance of 1,800 reals per month.

Fluent in Arabic, English, French, Greek, Russian and Ukrainian, Kaysar quickly learned Portuguese. In five months, he also spoke the language well. To facilitate its adaptation in Brazil, he adopted the name of Cesar. He enrolled in the European Center hotel course in the hope of getting a job in the area. “He was hardworking and living in a good mood. What caught my attention in him was that it was very correct. We know that the course was expensive and we offer a 50% scholarship. From time to time, we would talk to find out if everything was okay, and he said he was able to pay the monthly fee. He could ask us to increase the discount, but he never did,” says José Ost, the school’s chief executive.

It was in the course that Kaysar met entrepreneur Stephanie Keller. Owner of So Far Away, an animation company that offers actors dressed as children’s story characters for various parties and other types of events, called the classmate to give a helping hand and win an extra. “He’s just like on TV: always cheerful. I’d come in the morning, playing with everyone, and rocking around whenever we put music in class. Since he has a good physique, I soon realized that he could play Spider-Man,” she said. In addition to the teen superhero, Kaysar dressed up as Olaf, the snowman in the movie Frozen, as the Snow White Prince and Aladdin. For work, he earned 110 reals. “The children adored him because he liked to play everything. Once he was very upset because they did not let him down on a zipline, by age and weight. ”

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When he finished his course in December 2016, he enrolled as a waiter at the Intercity Hotel in Curitiba. In a chat with a colleague, he learned about the inscriptions of the Globo reality show. When he learned that the prize was 1.5 million reals, he kept his eyes shining. “I said it was difficult to be chosen because a lot of people wanted to participate. But he was kind of obsessed with it. He spread out posters saying he wanted to join the program. It was a kind of mantra for him,” recalls Nassib.

Kaysar grabbed the possibility of joining Big Brother Brazil because he knew he would hardly be able to raise money to help his departure from Syria. In addition to the employment of a waiter and the beaks at children’s parties, he also trained wild birds for extra income. “He said he took two parrots out of depression. The animals lived sad and he taught them new tricks and returned them happy to the owners,” says another friend of the course, Aline Heeren. In love with animals, it was common to meet him on weekends at Birigui Park with corn to feed the ducks. At home, there is a parrot named Habibi.

In Aleppo, Kaysar lived a middle-class life. His father, Georges Dadour, was the representative of a famous German cosmetics brand. The mother, Diane Meramo Dadour, did not work. Her sister, Celine, now lives in Beirut, Lebanon, where she studies Political Science. According to the Brazilian family, she fled in the trunk of a taxi to avoid being raped. Kaysar had to leave the country at the age of 20 to not join the army and escape the war. He fled for Lebanon, but his destination was Ukraine, where he would receive the help of a friend. When he arrived in Odessa, however, he could not reach him. Some years later, he discovered that his friend had died of cancer. With no where to stay, he spent days sleeping literally under a bridge. Until he got a job and could rent a room in a boarding house. To pay the rent, he also helped to clean the place.

One night, coming home from work, he ran into a nationalist gang. When they realized that Kaysar was Syrian and Christian, they began to assault him. He was saved by neighbors who recognized him and took him to the hospital. “He suffered a lot in this life. So much that he does not know how to cry. When he’s sad, he screams, but he screams a lot, “says Nassib. The Syrian is also the type that talks little about personal life. As for a serious girlfriend in Brazil, he only had one, a law student named Tatiane who moved to Portugal for her Masters. If he does not like talking very much, in compensation and well in the Arab style, he loves to write poetry. He does not leave a notebook covered with texts of his own, in Arabic and Russian.

Confined to the Big Brother Brazil (BBB) house, the Syrian has a team of eight people to manage their accounts on social networks. Nobody gets anything from work. The most prestigious is Kaysar Dadour on Instagram, with over 1 million fans. Syria has lost a bit of celebrity with Patricia, who was eliminated last week with 94.24%, the highest rejection rate in triple lobbies at the BBB. “The number of followers increases or decreases according to what he does inside the house. The relationship with Patricia was bad for him, yes, after she left, the fans started to grow,” says Aline Heeren, a kind of coordinator of Kaysar’s internet team. Among the celebrities who have expressed support for him are Giovanna Ewbank, the couple Sophia Abrahão and Sérgio Malheiros, and Youtuber Whindersson Nunes.

Kaysar seems to know he needs to get the audience’s attention. Each week, he appears with a different look. He has already cut his hair several times, shaved his eyebrows and his head in a look that resembled that of Ronaldinho in the 2002 World Cup. Last week, he misunderstood the way he danced with singer Anitta. Some netizens accused the Syrian of harassment. The singer herself had to put up hot cloths in the discussion and said that nothing had happened.

Parents – who have not seen the child personally for more than eight years, are following the BBB online. “His mother thinks Kaysar is swinging a lot,” says Nassib. “I understand this complaint from her because there it is not common. He’s young, he’s just doing what people his age do. ”

Translated from Veja.

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