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The Afghan Refugee

I asked Gul Jan from Afghanistan about her life. And a remarkable – and sad – story was told.

By Shokria

“This is my family’s refugee story”, Gul Jan from Afghanistan starts the interview.

Gul Jan with her family
Gul Jan (middle) together with her family. Her husband Amir (45) and her son Sameer (15) to the left and her son Mehran (7) and her daughter Tabasum (13) to the right.

“We left Afghanistan in 2010 after facing some serious problems that I don’t want to talk about. We were trying to leave the country to go to a place where we could live in peace. We went to Athens, Greece, where we stayed in a room with a human smuggler and another man, who was using drugs. The room was full of smoke and smelled of hash and opium. It was very disturbing to me.

Leaving Greece
I then had to leave Greece. I couldn’t wait because the human smuggler was pushing me to leave.  I left Athens, my husband and some of my children. Together with me I brought one of my sons. He was very sick. I arrived in Denmark. The human smuggler lead me to the police station where we headed towards an asylum camp. However, on the way, my son fainted. The police took us to the hospital and after one day my son got well.  The police came and took us to Sandholm. After some days we went to a hotel and then to another refugee camp called Avnstrup. My son became ill agan and his illness got worse day by day. I was getting ill, too, and worried about my sons, my daughter and my husband.

Difficult days
I didn’t have any information from them. The days were difficult; being in the camp with a son who is sick and no news from my husband or my other children. When my son would faint [from his illness], the neighbors living in the same building would help by calling the workers to bring my son to the doctor. Later neighbors grew tired and stopped helping me. In 2010, after six months [in Denmark], I got an interview with Immigration Services and they denied my application for asylum. They said they didn’t believe in my case.

United again
Then we were moved to another asylum camp. After some months, workers at the camp told me that my husband, son and daughter had arrived in Denmark. It was the best day of my life when I met them. I was relaxed, happy, and no longer felt alone or weak.

Son died
But my happiness did not last because my son got ill again. It was Tuesday – I will never forget this day he got ill again the same sickness. It got worse, so I went to the clinic in the camp. The nurse was there. She looked at her watch and told me sorry, it’s late, bring your kid to the clinic tomorrow. At 3:00 in the morning, my son fainted again and the ambulance came. We went to the hospital. It was September 2011 at 5:00pm that my son Amran closed his eyes and left this world forever. I will never forget this date. We put him in the grave and said goodbye to him.

Life is not easy as refugees

Daughter attempts suicide
Later I had another immigration interview. When they asked me some questions I could not answer, I was denied again. My daughter tried to kill herself with medication. We got her to a doctor quickly. She survived.

Now I do not know what to do.”

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