Meet Ameen, lover of rap, biology and Céline Dion
Ameen and I both love rap. We fully agree that Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls and Kanye West are the best rappers that ever lived, but we’re also partial to a bit of Eminem. We both harbour a secret love of Céline Dion, Canada’s finest, and enjoy listening to some jazz on the side.
However, unlike me, Ameen hasn’t listened to new music in a while. When you’re sleeping rough, there’s not much time to invest in discovering new artists. You’re just thinking about surviving.
I was born in an affluent part of Brazil in 1994. Ameen was born in 1996 in South Darfur, in Sudan – a country that suffered years of genocidal conflict in the early 2000s, which later came to be considered one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
We both love to eat rice and beans, a traditional meal native to both of our home countries, but only one of us can choose exactly when and where to cook it. We agree that Ronaldinho and Pelé are the top footballers in the world, but only one of us is able to watch games nowadays.
As a 24-year-old refugee living in the Calais jungle, after enduring an arduous five-year trip from war-torn Sudan through to Libya, Italy and then France, Ameen knows better than most how difficult it is to focus on personal hobbies.
“Through this journey, I learned many things. To be patient in this life. To know how to deal with people from different places. How to show respect to people,” he said. “It’s been a long time since I left my country. Before, I had dreams. But right now, my dreams have been destroyed.”
Before he left Sudan, he used to love biology; now, he’s less concerned with what he’ll choose to study once he makes it to the UK. All he wants is a future – and to be safe.
Spending years moving from country to country has equipped him with many different skills – he’s a mechanic, a car painter, a talented cook – but not enough time or inner peace to focus on what he enjoys the most.
“I need a place to stay, to relax, to bring my ideas back and get my confidence back,” said Ameen. “Then I will think about what I want for me.”
— Luana Salles, Care4Calais volunteer
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