Natsenet Teklu

I do feel somewhat foreign, because I don’t speak the language very well. I fled because there was no freedom in Eritrea. Women are expected to subordinate themselves to their husbands and bear him children. I wanted an education. In my area, classes stopped at the 7th grade. In order to continue an education, I needed to move to a bigger town. But this is only possible as a woman if you have brothers or family in this city, who can accompany you. If a single woman walks on her own, she becomes very vulnerable and risks being raped.

We fled in an open car through the Sahara Desert. We were lucky in that it took us just seven days. We were 25 people plus three cans of petrol in an ordinary car. If you fall off the car, nobody will pick you up again. Sometimes the car gets stuck in the sand, and then you have to get out of the car in the extreme heat and push it out of the sand. People who die during the journey are buried in the sand, but sometimes the sand blows away and exposes the bodies.

I started on a Folk High School first thing in Denmark. I learned Danish. While the others went on a trip to Norway, I stayed at home and fasted. I eat neither pork nor poultry. Just vegetables. I am an orthodox Christian. I aspire to become a SOSU assistant and take care of the elderly, but I would like eventually to become a doctor.

I miss my family, which is now spread across the globe in Eritrea, Israel and Germany. But I would like to stay in Denmark. Anne, my mentor, is one of the most important persons in my life. She has helped me getting to know Denmark better and to make sense of things.

27 years old / female / Single / Student at VUC / Roskilde / from Eritrea / came to Denmark in 2015 / residence permit in 2015