My name is Ahmad and is from Latakeie, Syria. I am 21 years old, I studied high school in Syria and then I tried to study at the university. Because of the war, the grade and the dollar got higher, then it was difficult to be accepted to university. I had to study at college and then I flew from Syria. I flew from Syria September 29, 2014. The flight from Syria started from Tartos, then from Tartos to Marsine, in Turkey. I was at an age that was sensitive because they were the age they used to do their military service.
I got a fine and then my journey continued. I went from Syria to Marsine but I did not know anyone there, but I ran for a better life, political situation and continuing my studies and to reach my dreams. If I remember correctly, we arrived at Marsine at twelve o’clock. There were no available hotel rooms or motel rooms so we had to stay overnight in the park until the next morning at 9 o’clock. Where should I go? Where am I going to end up? I did not know what I had before me. New language. New culture. A society that I did not know. And I did not get any help from anyone. I was on my way to a place I did not know. I agreed with a dozen young men from Damascus, Latakeie and some Palestinians, to flee together in the sea. We agreed.
We decided to meet in Istanbul and flee together. The friends who were with me did not want to come along and they stayed. We others stayed in Istanbul and then went to Izmir. Everyone took their time to take good care of their families in Istanbul. but I only had one brother in Istanbul. Of course, I did not tell him that I will swim. I told him, here you have my clothes and I have found a cheap boat escape. He told me it was dangerous, but I replied that there was nothing for me here. He finally accepted my flight and wished me luck and gave me money.
When I arrived at Izmir, I called the men and most of them were not allowed by their parents to flee swimming through the ocean. They were going to cross the boat. We swam about 200 meters and already one of us wanted to return. We persuaded him not to return and that we should help each other and swim to the goal. We helped him and pushed him. We swam, swam and swam there was night and we did not see anything in front of us and we were afraid. We prayed to God to help us.
We were terrified. And when we felt something in the ocean like a branch or leaf, we were afraid and thought it could be a worm or a fish. We swam quickly from the object and were alive. When we arrived we were received by the Red Cross. When she saw our feet and our appearance she became shocked. They offered help and helped to wash off and give us new clothes. We then proceeded to Macedonia and on to the next country, Serbia. In order to enter Serbia, a registration document must be obtained.
I remember I had to wait day and night to get this document. We had to sleep there one night, we slept on the street. It was very difficult. It was cold and rainy. After Serbia, it was meant to go to Croatia but first through Hungary. We knew that in Hungary the refugees treated unbelievably badly. We remembered how the journalist folded the father and the child and they threw the food to the refugees. I did not want to go there. I would rather have traveled back to Syria than going through Hungary.
We were promised that they would not stop or attack us. I had almost no money left. I only had 100 Euro. Then my flight continued to Hamburg. Hamburg was the closest city to Scandinavia. When I arrived I met someone. I asked if he could help me find a way out of Germany. He replied that he will show me where the Red Cross is and they will then help you to Sweden. I answered, perfectly, Sweden is a very good country. The Red Cross took me to a city called Kiel. They booked a bus ride from Hamburg to Kiel and then we took the ferry to Gothenburg. It took us about twelve hours. I arrived at Gothenburg on 11 October 2015. When I came to Sweden, I became convinced that nothing could stand in man’s way. You can reach what you want. If you have a goal, all difficulties are easy. Then I came to Sweden.
I have had trauma. I wake up in the middle of the night by seeing myself in the middle of the ocean. What I miss most is my mom. My mother means everything in my life, she means everything to me, my siblings, my area, the area I grew up in, my home. I have gone through many countries, but I miss most my country, a place where you lived, played, went to school, my friends. I have created new contacts here in Sweden, but still my friends in Syria mean more. I miss my first love and all memories from Syria.
A Million Stories Sweden: Nizar Keblawi, Nina Olsson, Sara Sarabi, Malin Gillberg, Daniel Björklund, Mats Nordström.
A Million Stories Sweden volunteers: Fariborz Ghadir, Mohamad Mohsin, Yazan Saad, Tarek Aloudallah, Dalia Saleem, Yara Ali, Ahmad Younes, Chaimae Hamri.
In association with
Dublin Core: Language: swe Subject: asylum, refugees, A Million Stories, Sweden