Syrian refugee Hayyen who is now settled in a Dublin home this Christmas talks about the journey he took to get here, which involved a precarious crossing of the Med.
“I remember before we took the boat they were talking about a storm coming from the West – from Greece. We were supposed to leave at two o’clock in the morning but we couldn’t because we had trouble with the engine, so our trip was delayed for two hours,” recalls Hayyen, a Syrian refugee who left his home country in early 2016 to escape the conflict there. “We went at 4 o’clock in the morning instead so when we left it was ok, the sea was particularly calm. However, when we were in the middle of the sea, the waves started to rise and get higher. At that time I remember our boat was moving – well actually the waves were playing with the boat. It was a little bit scary but the screams of the women and children were more scary.”
All of the sudden however Hayyen saw a big boat approaching his boat – it was a Red Cross’ search and rescue vessel, and it ensured Hayyen and peers made it to land safely.
Hayyen’s journey across the Mediterranean was just one leg of a very long journey to get to Ireland. Hayyan arrived in Greece in March 2016. His first stop was the Greek islands, then he made his way to a port, and this was followed by a camp. Hayyen then moved to Athens. He says he made friends with a lot of Greek people while he was there. “It was a good experience. Greeks are very nice, very friendly and despite the economic crisis there they were very welcoming, and most of them were supportive.”
From Athens, Hayyen flew to Ireland. His first home in Ireland was Mosney but he is now settled in Dublin with an Irish family, just in time for Christmas.
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