Tedros Haile Teclemariam
The first year here, I feel 100% foreign, but it’s better now. Before my wife lived in Eritrea, and I was very worried about her. Now she is here with me, and I feel much better.
In some ways my escape still torments me. Especially the boat trip across the Mediterranean. We were halfway across when the motor stopped, and for the next ten hours I thought that my life was over. When the Italian coast guard found us, it was like being born again. I felt that I had been given a second chance in life. But the three days at sea when two hundred people had to live without any food were gruesome. Women and children cried from hunger. There was one woman, whom I often think about.
During my first year in Denmark I felt 100% foreign, but it is much better now. My wife still lived in Eritrea during this period and I worried about her a lot. Now that she is here, I feel a lot better. Her child was dead on arrival and we had to bury it in the sand. We chose to bring her with us on the boat, even though she was very weak. I will never forget the sight of this poor heartbroken woman, nor the sounds of crying children. I enjoy watching National Geographic because it reminds me that everybody is struggling for survival and for their family’s survival and welfare. But there is of course a huge difference between refugees and Danes. The struggles of ordinary Danes are very different from our struggles. In Eritrea, where you must live under a dictatorship, there are no basic human rights nor freedom of choice. Here you live in a state of abundance, and you are free to do whatever you want. In my opinion, freedom is essential for anyone’s personal happiness.
33 years / male / in a relationship / Hellerup / language school student / from Eritrea / came to Denmark in 2014 / residence permit in 2015