After a perilous journey across the desert to escape the war in Darfur and seek safety, Mustafa regains hope for a better future
I arrived in Norway in 2021 after venturing across Chad, Niger, Libya and Rwanda in search of any safe place that would offer me asylum.
I had a happy life in North Darfur, until war reached my small village unleashing its brutalities.
After the outbreak of the conflict in Sudan, I was forced to flee to the unknown, having to leave behind my newly married wife, family and friends and whatever possession I had.
I didn´t know where I was heading, nor where fate would lead me. I just wanted to escape from all the killing and atrocities that I saw happening around me sparing no one, neither the old nor the young. I did not know the meaning of the word "refugee" until I became one of them.
I first entered Chad, then crossed into Niger, looking for a way to reach the northern shores of Libya. I knew that the Mediterranean Sea has become a graveyard of people trying to find greener pastures in Europe, but my desperation for safety and better living conditions got the better of my fear of the sea.
We set sail on an overcrowded boat with no one in charge. Unfortunately, we couldn´t make it and a few days later we ended up in a Libyan prison.
Thanks to UNHCR, which visited us in detention, we were released and given official documents showing that we were legal asylum seekers in Libya. This allowed me to be evacuated to an emergency transit center in Rwanda before being interviewed and accepted for resettlement in Norway.
Before departing, we received a five-day Pre-departure Orientation (PDO) on Norway in Rwanda by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). We were all excited and happy to hear about the country that had accepted us, where we could finally start a new life. We were surprised that the orientation was in a language we could understand and provided by someone who understood our culture, a fellow Sudanese migrant living in Norway.
Now in Norway, I hope to continue studying and working. As part of the introduction program, I have started taking Norwegian language classes. I am currently participating in language practice at a grocery store, where I was even recently offered a summer job. I am not sure yet what I want to study after completing the language course, but I am encouraged and positively overwhelmed by the variety of opportunities provided here.
These prospects greatly excite me as it gives me options that were not obtainable before, including my desire to financially support my family back home. However, the situation remains difficult. While I was able to stay in contact with my loved ones during my treacherous journey, I have since lost contact with my wife and family. My heart aches as I am still searching for them.
Despite this frightening situation, my hope for the future remains. I have been given a precious second chance now that I am in Norway, and I am going to make the best out of it.