A terrifying account of fleeing home
Whilst distributing aid in Brussels, I had the opportunity to talk with a very smiley gentleman named Ibrahim. A qualified engineer in his home country of Sudan, he was forced to flee due to the ongoing conflict.
He told me about his journey to get to Belgium, never breaking his beautiful smile, even though the story was heartbreaking to hear. Whilst in Libya attempting to cross over to Europe he was taken by a Libyan gang, who had tricked him into thinking they would take him to a boat. He was held hostage in a warehouse with many others and threatened with violence if he didn’t get his family to pay a ransom.
He told me that he watched many people get beaten whilst on the phone to their families and felt terrified that he would never be able to escape. Luckily he did and, two months later, managed to make his way to Europe on a leaky, wooden boat that he said rocked with each wave that hit it.
Being from a city inland, he had never seen the ocean before and he told me of his fear of the dark waters that surrounded him. He kept his eyes on the floor and prayed that he would make it. His smile broke for a second while he told me that two others on the boat didn’t. Falling over the sides and unable to swim, they became another two victims of the infamous crossing.
His smile gently returning, he told me that he plans to write his story one day, and I leave hoping that a man with so much heart and positive energy, despite what he has gone through, gets that opportunity.
-written by a volunteer