Every day when I woke up I felt like this was the last day of my life

Hassan Alsamma is 44 years old and from Ghouta, Syria.

I came to Denmark in 2014. In my country I was an interior designer. I had a lovely life before the war. I owned my own house and was a manager at my job. When the war started, I didn’t expect it to develop into a war. I was sure that after a day or two, everything would go back to normal. Unfortunately the war escalated and we were very afraid. Our apartment was situated next to a military compound from where they were sending rockets. For that reason we were very scared, and decided to leave our home.

At first we fled to Damascus, where my family lives. But, I had no job or life there, and as the war escalated I realized that we could not stay. For that reason my wife and I fled to Egypt. But it was a very hard life there. Everything was very expensive, rent and food, and it was very hard to get a job. Also, the revolution against the Egyptian president began around that time, so we were afraid that the same would happen as in Syria. I decided to flee to Europe and try to get family reunification when I got to safety. I took a small boat to Italy. There were 300 people on board. The trip took 12 days. The trip was like a death trip. Every day when I woke up I felt like this was the last day of my life. There was no land in sight, only water. For six days there was no water to drink, so we started to boil sea water to drink. I lost 10 kgs in only 10 days, and I got very sick. Finally, I got to Italy. The first thing I did was to take a shower and shave.

I stayed in the refugee camp for one day, then they let me go. From the camp I took the train to Milan. From there, me and six other people drove to Cologne by van. From Cologne we went north. Five of us went to Sweden, and two of us went to Denmark. I chose Denmark because I have friends here. I thought I could get citizenship here!
When I arrived to Denmark I went to Sandholm , and stayed there for four months, and then I was sent to Ebeltoft for two months. From there I went to Rudersdal. I got permission to stay and after about a year and a half I was granted family reunification with my wife.

When I came to Rudersdal commune I told them I needed to make my own life, my own project. While I was waiting to realize my dream, I worked as a volunteer and in an internship to cook food for elderly people in an old age home. I couldn’t speak Danish, but I could cook and help them. I also worked in a horse-riding school with maintenance. Because of my poor Danish skills I didn’t get a job after the end of my internship. I started learning what I needed to know to be able to start my own bazar shop, and now I have had my own business for a year and a half.
I am very happy now that I am independent and have my own business. It is a lot better than receiving money from the council. It is also what we are used to from Syria. We live to work and socialize. I would like the Danish people to look positive at refugees. We came here and started our own life, and are coping on our own. We are very positive people.

Dublin Core: Language: en Subject: a million stories, refugee, denmark, syria, interior designer,