Berihun Flesh & Alemu Beyen
I am from a big family in Ethiopia, where the people are kind, but the government is corrupted. I can remember back when I was in tenth grade, the government came and stripped our family of everything. With no place to live, we were forced to move into the mountains. I began building houses to try and save money. The day my sister, my cousin, and I were walking down the street and heard gunshots was the moment I knew I needed to leave my country. I frantically looked around to see what happened and found that both of them were dead. I question why they had to die, but I am still alive.
After that, I left Ethiopia with my little brother and cousin to try and find a better life. We traveled along with close to one hundred and fifty people through the desert with no food, no water, and no shelter. At least fifty of those one hundred and fifty people died but I am thankful that my family and I managed to survive. After traveling through the desert, I saw six boats that were filled with refugees trying to escape to Libya.
The tough weather on the water causing all boats, except mine, to sink, resulting in at least seven hundred deaths.
When we arrived in Libya, we were awaited by the police who, as soon as we stepped off of the boat, began firing at us. A small few of us were able to make it through by surrendering all of the money we had. From Libya, we traveled again to Italy where we lived on the streets for some time before finally coming to Paris. I am very grateful for the government of France for fighting to take care of us refugees. I feel so blessed to have a safe place to sleep and a roof over my head. Above everything else, I am thankful that my brother and cousin are here.
My plans are to settle here in France, continue to study, and to find work. I will take any job that I can to make a living and someday bring my mother here to be with us so that I can take care of her. It is a miracle that I am alive today, there were so many moments that I should have died.