A Refugee’s Home to Newcastle Upon Tyne- ‘Home is Where My Mother Was!’

After years of living in limbo (a 6-year wait), fearing deportation, I have recently found a place to call home in Newcastle. However, this sanctuary is not just a physical dwelling but a profound state of being I have sought to cultivate throughout my difficult journey.

I now say:

The Journey to Newcastle
When I was rescued from my ex-in-laws in Middlesbrough (I was a modern-day slave victim, trafficked in the UK and confined for 6 months), my beloved friend Simon Cronin, who is no longer with us, came to take me into his home in Worcester. It was a 5-hour journey. I remember meeting him after a year, after all that stress, and telling him I could not live in a safe house – I needed a friend or someone with me. I was broken, scared, anxious, unable to see my son, totally in a new world. I did not know what to do or where to go. But one thing was better – I was at Simon’s place in Worcester, which I knew from visiting before.

It sounds strange, but to explain briefly, I came to the UK in 2009 as a student teenager. I left in 2015, went to Portugal, and in 2016 had an arranged marriage with my ex-wife, who was from the UK. There is a recorded BBC interview about my full story- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNtUOy9AF-E

Going back to Worcester was very traumatic. I remember seeing big lorries and sitting in the road many times, with people asking if I was okay. Simon took me to the doctor, psychotherapist, legal aid solicitor appointments, shopping, etc. I used to talk to my beloved mother at that time. She was alive but severely ill with cancer. She used to tell me, “Son, let’s say you have lost everything, but you have me, your faith in the Almighty, and your son. If you need someone to stand by you as I may not live much longer, please find a way to finish your studies and become a lawyer. See the injustice happening to you and others like you, and stand for it. Your education will be your best companion in life. It will never betray you and will give you strength, livelihood, and the power to do something for your community and your son.” My mom was a high school headteacher. I really miss her. My home is literally where my mom was – it’s very close to my heart.

Weaving Home: A Tapestry of Memories and Resilience:

As I settle into my new home in Newcastle, in Byker Community Trust , I am reminded of the poignant words that echoed through my anthology: “Home is a charming word. I have always tried to live with a sense of home. It is where many find comfort. My imagination seeks out the components of a happy home – hope, joy, security, certainty of what life will look like in the future.”

This newfound sanctuary represents more than just four walls and a roof; it manifests the dreams I have nurtured, the resilience I have cultivated, and the unwavering belief that a better future lies ahead. Within these walls, I can begin to weave the tapestry of belonging that has eluded me for so long, creating a space where memories are cherished, and traditions are honoured. The echoes of loved ones resonate with renewed clarity.

As I move into this new chapter, I carry with me the resilience tapestry woven by my community – fellow refugees and asylum seekers who have endured unimaginable hardships. We gently remind each other that our journeys, though difficult, are threads in a collective story of hope, perseverance and the unshakeable belief that true belonging exists beyond any physical space.

My Tapestry Sanctuary
Threads of memories, forever bound,
Echoes of Mum’s voice resound.
Laughter, like sunbeams through the gloom,
Warming this tapestry, I call home.

These new walls, more than mere brick,
These are where dreams find fertile ground to take root and thrive.
A sanctuary from life’s cruel tricks,
Where traditions are tenderly kept alive.

Each loving stitch weaves a tale,
Of resilience’s triumph over strife’s gale.
This abode, with its tapestried grace,
My people’s stories find their resting place.

Though patterns may shift, hues may stray,
The warmth of belonging will never fray.
In this home’s intricate, vibrant embrace,
Mother, where are you? I am looking for you.

Once trafficked, enslaved, a life unchosen,
Now, in Newcastle, I’ve found repose in
In this tapestry sanctuary, fears are losing their hold,
Where tomorrow’s hopes for our people take bold.

So let us live in this home-welcoming globe,
A haven when anguish and dread linger near.
My tapestry home, where memories sweetly sleep,
And dreams for a compassionate world continue to outnumber.

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