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To the promised safety

By October 10, 2022February 7th, 2023Blog post

At 17, she followed her family wherever. She was giving up hope when a bright wormhole opened up and spat them to another country with a new identity: one they were completely unfamiliar with but that promised to save their lives and help them. The asylum seeker(s).

At first, it felt like a much-needed break. They could breathe, learn to stop being afraid, learn to trust people again and start all over again. Right?

As the year passed, they trusted that they would be safe and alright by the end of the short journey that being asylum seekers should entail. They were moved from place to place, asked to show proof of destitution and fed what remained.

What remained of them after that year was strong still. Another year passed them by. They grasped tightly to the hope that everything would be alright. People around them who came to know them often said “You’re next” or “You’re safe”.

Human life needs protection from harm and that is a right of all people. They were given shelter and a housing officer to check on the property.

By the third year, the little grains of hope were gone. The people changed their story to “It takes a long time” or “How are you holding up?”

At 20, she could not study further and would be a mature student in one year. Unaware of what happens, she gets desperate and feels helpless. Her mother’s form begins to change. The strong woman she knew began to shrink into the seat she almost always sat on.

She started thinking of the future and it was dark. No sign of hope or life ahead. No friends in sight, nothing to look forward to and no shoulder to learn on. The self-loathing kicked in. She wished she had not been born at all.

She pressed on nevertheless and applied to university and crossed her fingers.

She got in! But she couldn’t go. Another year passed.

She applied again, got in, and couldn’t go. This time she sought all kinds of help. She wanted to make her family proud. But it was to no avail. The cases stayed the same. The asylum seekers continued to struggle in their every movement.

Now at 22, she puts on a facade and a stoic composure as a young ambitious woman with no work experience and whose peers are now graduating from university. As the pieces of her heart cut her from the inside out, she can confirm that she didn’t learn to stop being afraid as she is more afraid of what the future holds. And they did not learn to trust people again as people view them now as a burden, a burden no one wants to carry but they did start all over again.

They started hurting and aching as the trauma they went through is repeated in their dreams and the four lonely empty walls can tell only of the tears they cry in desperate destitution.

The author of To the Promised Safety is an illustrator who is currently seeking asylum in the UK. She wished to remain anonymous.