This week, Our Southern Souls is telling the stories of refugees who escaped war and persecution around the world to have a safer life in Mobile. Dwell Mobile works with these refugees to make their transition a little easier.
“I come from Darfur in West Sudan. It was bad. It is still bad. The war, the government. The Janjaweed militia killed our tribe. They came in at night and killed families. My father and I had a big garden that we worked in every morning. We went there at 5 in the morning. There were over 350 mango trees and oranges and avocados. My father had a horse and I had a donkey. One morning we heard guns. I said my father, my father, they are coming. My father was 59 but he was strong. They saw our garden and started shooting at us. I ran away and climbed up the small mountain behind our garden. They killed my father. A man on a horse shot him in the head. They collected all of the gold and cattle from our village. I ran away and found someone who was running also. There was another ambush and they made us go with them and look after the cattle or they would kill us. During the day they closed our eyes and at night they opened them. I was 20 or 25. He said he wanted to escape and I said no. I said Our God will help us. He didn’t listen me. He tried to escape and they shot them. They hit me with a gun and hurt my back. One guy helped me escape while the cattle were eating at night. I met him at the big tree and we ran at night and slept at his home. He gave me some money for a car and I went to South Sudan but the war started again and we ran to Ethiopia. I stayed there over ten years in a camp. There was thousands of refugees there. We lived in tents. They gave us small amounts of food and people suffered. I met my wife at the camp we married in 2014. We were safe in the camp and I worked with a food organization loading and unloading food. The Catholic church helped us get here and I say thank you and God bless them. I went to an interview and succeeded and came here in January 2016. Thank you to the American people and the American government for helping us. The government is still sending the militia against the people of Darfur. They shot my brother eight months ago but he is still alive. My uncle was working in a bank and they shot him. My mother is still there. When I have problems, I say God, my God, help me. It is bad to close your heart. I hope peace is coming and one day I will see my family again.”