The following interview was conducted by Khadija Yassin, a grade 11 FHCI english student.
“I was only 14 when I was forced to leave home. One day, in the middle of the night, my parents packed all my things, and set me off to meet with two large men who were paid to smuggle me out of my country. The mission was to head from Eritrea to Sudan on foot for the next three weeks, and we did. We’d only travel at night and during the day we’d hide in fear that they’d find us, the Ethiopian military. We could only travel at night because military planes were searching for people trying to escape, if they found you, they killed you. Eritrea was at war at the time with Ethiopia. The government was killing anyone they could find. In the middle of the night, they would knock on your doors; force your family outside to form a line, as they shot the men in the family. They did this to ensure that no one would join the guerilla fighters, the people fighting for Eritrea’s independence, so they killed you before you could. I remember one morning all the kids in my village were talking about a man getting shot at the local café, a few hours later I found out it was my father. That was the day my parents decided I had to leave, my 12 siblings and I were all separated, as our parents stayed behind. I headed to Sudan, then Saudi Arabia, before finally making Canada my new home. Leaving was my only option, but I wish I didn’t have to. All I have today is my family. I’m married now with two children. I want them to have to never live their lives in fear. I want them to be educated, successful, and happy. I want to watch them grow, get married, and have children. Everything I do is for them. I learned to accept that my life happened the way it did for a reason and I want them to know that.”