WOW WOW WOW!!
A MASSIVE MASSIVE shout out to The Worldwide Tribe who shared Mohammad’s heartbreaking experiences in trying to get to Brazil from Syria. Within hours of sharing the story, the fundraising target needed of £450 was not only reached, but SMASHED!! You donated more than 3 times the target!! This means the extra money can help the reunification process of Mohammad’s family still stuck in Syria.
It was a chance encounter meeting Mohammad. I was walking home through a park with a couple of friends, and we had taken a different path to normal. One of my friends saw his Syrian friends sitting in the park and he left us to say hello. We slowly walked ahead. After a while, our friend caught back up to us and mentioned how he was feeling quite upset for his friend Mohammad who he had just seen.
Mohammad had fled the war in Syria to Turkey. He had a wife back in Syria, they were newly weds and fell pregnant immediately. Mohammad had hoped they could apply for visas to live in Brazil where they could rebuild their lives as a family. Mohammad had a job to go to and a friend there to support. What was thought to be a short processing period of 1-2 months for the visa, had ended up being 7 months of waiting, and waiting. In this time Mohammad had spent all the money he had saved from Syria. A chef by trade, Mohammad found work in Turkey to support his living costs, but his employer exploited him and he never got paid, not a cent. He had no money left. And now, in less than 2 months would be expecting the birth of their first child, a girl, who he wouldn’t be able to hold in his arms for who knows how long.
A few days before I met Mohammad, he received the long awaited news that his visa for Brazil was approved. All that was needed was to pay for a flight – and take off.
The sad news was Mohammad had no money to pay for his flight. And he needed to leave within 5 days.
When I heard this while walking along I was struck, and stopped. All Mohammad needed to get to Brazil now was a flight ticket. And the only thing in his way was the cost, £450. We turned back to go and talk with Mohammad. I thought to myself, there was no way we could let this guy miss out on his ticket out of here.
I suggested we could help find a way to pay for the ticket. Grateful, Mohammad was very insistent it would only be a loan to help him out of this urgent position. After everything Mohammad had been through, I admired his sense of dignity and honour.
Being happily married and starting a new family, a baby daughter, was everything Mohammad was dreaming for. Starting a new chapter in life, should be exciting. But for Mohammad these dreams had become anything but reality.
It was a serendipitous moment, it was such a chance of fortune meeting Mohammad. Had we have taken the other path home, our paths would not have crossed. Had we have chosen different directions, Mohammad would have continued sitting in the park worried about the fate of his future. At that time, Mohammad had thought the door to Brazil was about to slam shut.
It wasn’t Mohammad’s choice to leave Syria. Nor any of the 5 million other Syrians. He is one of the lucky ones so far to been given international protection in Brazil.
And so the next chapter begins. Mohammad is in Sao Paolo working as a chef and is working on family reunification plans. And longing to hold his baby girl, Myra.
Myra means peace; prosperous; light; wonderful. I love this name. This is what life is about.
Wish you all the best Mohammad.