Mohamed’s Fight 3/4

mediafugees-doll

Read: Life at war, to be born on the wrong side of tracks. [Mohamed’s fight 1/4] and They call it tourism, we call it survival. [Mohamed’s fight 2/4]


 

I spent a lot of time on Facebook to figure out what was necessary to take the plunge. I read many articles, posts, stories, comments, I finally ended up spending 500 dollars to outfit my family with a bunch of stuffs. These are trivial objects I reckon. But they are oddly important to us. One day, if you need to flee your country with a baby, you might appreciate to have some of these.

 

A backpack. If you take a boat trip, that’s the only bag you can take with you from your former life. The smugglers will not allow you to take more than this with you. If everyone does, the boat will be too heavy and they won’t be able to board as many “customers.” It’s just a matter of profit.

 

Panadol for babies. This paracetamol-based medication is vital when you are in the middle of nowhere. In that situation, the most terrifying thing that could happen is a child with a high fever. Mitigating the risks is something you want to do.

 

A thermometer. Most of the migratory process happens in summer. It’s hot, your hands sweat, your kids sweat, so fever is quite hard to detect on your kids without a proper device. We never had to face this situation though.

 

mediafugees-objects-mohamed
Photo Inga Padurari

 

A smartphone. Best invention ever for a migratory journey. You need a light device full of offline maps. I mostly used two mapping applications: Sygic and Maps.me.

 

A lot of power banksThe more power banks you have, the better it is. A dead phone won’t help you.

 

Some money. When it comes to money, it’s not easy to make the right decisions. You need money but you can’t carry a lot with you: robbery traps are very common in that kind of situation. My wife sewed a pocket in her bra and carried most of our nest egg against her. When we got arrested at the airport of Charleroi, Belgium, a custom officers found the money and asked if we were rich people. Would they ask something like that to a regular traveler?

 

A doll. When you are in migration, you are busy all the time. You get tired, terrified, nervous. But young children believe they are having a long vacation with their family. So they need a friend, a companion to be kept amused when parents can’t handle it any more.

 

A baby chest carrier. Your hands ought to be free during the whole process to carry a phone or deal with anything else. For days, I carried my baby in such a device. It’s very unhealthy for a baby though and it created blood circulation issues, as well as skin problems.

 

What you won’t need: A life jacket. The one people’s eyes have become so accustomed with when it comes to “migrants.” This thing is a joke. I bought it just to make my wife less nervous about crossing the sea. But it will only allow you to survive one hour in the sea. The water temperature or the waves will kill you anyway.

 

MEDIAFUGEES-Mohamed-Al-Lami
Photo Inga Padurari

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  • Mohamed Al Lami

    Mohamed Al Lami is a Iraqi man. He left Iraq with his wife and kids because of the war. Currently, he is an asylum seeker in Belgium. Mohamed uses a pseudonym.

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