On the way home from school, Mahmoud and Waleed witness a boy being jostled and bullied by two other boys. They hide behind an abandoned car and the bullies are oblivious to them. Mahmoud is distraught when he remembers his friend Khalid and how he used to be bullied.
When Mahmoud and Waleed are home later that day, a strange sound is audible and Mahmoud realizes that it is a missle! He seeks refuge under the kitchen table just as his apartment building explodes in front of him. He and Waleed run haphazardly to the door and stumble down the stairs, where they escape to the street outside.
Mahmoud and his family are trying to cross the border to Turkey in spite of the crowds and crowds of people. Everyone, including the children, are tired and listless from the losses they have suffered. Many people have made a great odyssey to get to the border, and they do not want to be turned away.
In Turkey, Mahmoud and his family need a place to stay while they wait for the boat to take them to Lesbos. They are in a mournful mood because the boat has not yet come. They meet a man who agrees to lead them to a deserted mall. It is in violation of the law to do this, but Mahmoud's family doesn't care. There are other refugee families living in the mall, and some of them look like they have been there for a long time.
After being told that they can not stay in the mall anymore, Mahmoud and his family disembark to find somewhere else to sleep. As the hours go by, Mahmoud grows more and more tired, and fears that his collapse is inevitable. Suddenly, Mahmoud darts into the road and a car stops. The man driving the car agrees to help the family, and Mahmoud feels elation for the first time in a long time.
The raft that Mahmoud and his family are in crashes against the rocks and everyone is deserted in the sea. Mahmoud finds his mother first, and he helps her keep the baby out of the water, not submerged. After a while, Mahmoud needs a respite from the constant struggle to stay above the water.