Life as an immigrant


Memories of an Immigrant’s Journey – Part 1

29 aug , 2016, 12.53 ammaralkaysi


I’m now starting a series of an immigrant’s journey. This is Ahmed’s story:

Some days ago Ahmed (pseudonym), 22 years old, remembered his unforgettable risky journey to Finland one year ago.

Three years ago Ahmed lived quietly with his parents in a small city of a country that suffers from several problems, one of them is sectarian conflicts. He used to go to his shop every day to provide for the family as he left studying at school early. Although he was forced to close this shop, he had not cared about this matter until the last threats that made him realize he would lose his life unless he fled the country. 

His destination was Turkey.

He stayed in Turkey for two years working with a daily wage that barely covered his needs. Neither did he have a residence permit. He was afraid of losing his job any time and that he would be sent back to his country.

Exactly a year ago, he received a call from one friend who told him that there were some trips to European countries available. There, he was told, were safe places where people can build their future. Fortunately a lot of people crossed countries’ boarders easily those days. He went back to his flat and without hesitation packed a bag with few clothes, his mobile and some money that he had saved from the work for emergency situations.

He hit the road by traveling to the city Izmir where the plan was to get on a rubber dinghy towards Greece. It cost about 1200$, but he refused to give the smuggler a penny until being on the dinghy because he had heard stories about people being cheated by smugglers.

As soon as he arrived to Izmir, he was surprised by the crowd waiting to flee to Europe. The smuggler received a call that he had to change the departure to the city Bodrum because some people were caught a night ago in the Turkish coast.

Therefore, all the immigrants had to wait in the street, so they made mattresses out of carton boxes. After three days they were informed that the trip would happen at 12:00 at midnight.

Mini buses picked up a great number of people. Each mini bus carried more than 30 people, and they were so packed that it was difficult to breathe. Moreover, the smugglers took 100$ from each person and hit or insulted anyone who refused tp give the money.

When he arrived with the people to the new starting point, there was a large number of people waiting, even larger at the first starting point. No one was allowed to make any sounds and most kids were given hypnotic drugs to make them sleep. Everyone waited until 04:00 am when the smugglers started to put around 48-52 people in one dinghy. Ahmed was put in the last dinghy, which wasn’t inflated with enough air. 

To be continued …

One of immigrants,

Ammar Al-Kaysi

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