Seeking a new home

Imagine this. Your home – the place where you feel safe and sound. Think how it looks like, how it smells, why you love it so much. And now imagine that, for some reason, it is not safe anymore.

You have to decide whether you stay and risk your and your family’s lives or you flee and jump into uncertain future. It is not an easy choice, but you do not have a third option.

Assume that you’ve decided to run. You do not take much, only necessary things. You sell everything else. You know that you will probably never see your beloved place on Earth again. You start a horrible journey by truck, by raft with greatest fear instead of food and water. The only thing you want is to finally reach the longed-for safe spot.

And then, if you’re lucky, one day you make it! You come to a foreign country, with a different culture, with a strange unfamiliar language and habits. You are afraid, you are angry – not with your hosts, but with everything what has happened to you and your loved ones. People do not like you, they are scared of you. You are an outlander, a newcomer.

You and your family are settled in a refugee camp. You have some bread and water, but there is not much more to do than waiting. You are thoroughly checked many times. You wait for a month, then two, then for a half a year. You start to learn a new language, a foreign way of living. In the meantime, you hear about terrorist attacks, which are in some ways linked to you, your identity. You feel that you are not welcome in this place, that people start to hate you, even though you have not done anything wrong. You are not sure if they let you stay in their country.

If you are very lucky, after some time, endless waiting and paperwork, you can start a new life. You even get some help for the new beginning – unemployment benefit, social housing… But it is not what you long for, what you dream of, what you want – your old, familiar life. And no one can give you that.

I have not written it all, to change your way of thinking about refugees. I do not want you to start loving all the newcomers and put out the meeting mat for them. What I would want though is for you to open your eyes and look at them from another perspective. Please, remember that they are people like us, with their own problems, difficult experiences, fears, the feeling of loss and longing.

Zdjęcia: Maciek Gałuszka
Edycja: Ania Smolarek
Korekta: Maja Dębowska