Mez is 18!

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Returning to the jungle

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Perspective

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My constant inspiration!

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Happy anniversary Mez!

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Two years to the day since he made it to the UK not speaking a word of English…

Mez gets his GCSE results!

Two years ago today my dad got a phone call from Kent social services to say a young boy had been found hiding on top of a lorry coming into Dover…

“An Eritrean boy – in good health, with very little English” said the guy on the phone.

My family stood around that phone eagerly watching my dad spell out his name on the notepad in front of him…
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It was the news we had been waiting for.

Two years ago today, that little Eritrean boy was fed a bit of porridge at a centre in Dover, given some dry clothes and huge flip flops and put in a taxi on his own to our house…

He arrived at our door with nothing but his wet coat and dirty trainers in a bin bag.

Two years ago today Mez became my little brother.

Nothing has been the same since that day.

Mez, I love you more and more every single day. You never cease to amaze me.

Who would have thought, that day two years ago when you hardly knew the word ‘hello’ in English, that two years later you would be waking up to your GSCE results.

My babe, you have shown me that we can do anything.

The sky is the limit.

You have also shown me that love for a sibling or a child goes well beyond blood.

We all love you so much Mez.

Mez’s Boat Journey

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This month marks a year since my foster brother came into our lives. I have never received a bigger gift, or experienced more joy from anything than this addition to our family. I can only liken it to what I imagine having a baby is like. The pride, the love that I feel for him is more than I could have ever imagined.

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Mez has never been on a holiday, and it’s been years since my family all have too, so we thought we would all go away together to celebrate this amazing anniversary. Mez has been granted 5 years asylum (until he is 19), but he doesn’t have travel documents yet so we decided to go to Wales and spend the week on a canal boat.

It was only when we were there that I thought about what it meant for Mez to be on a boat. It was only the second time he had ever been on one, and the two experiences could not be more different….

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The last time was a year and a half ago when he crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. One of 600 people, he boarded the old wooden fishing boat which probably had a maximum capacity of about 100. This overcrowding meant that the boat balanced precariously close to the waves, any movement could have tipped it, throwing everyone overboard.

They all prayed. From midnight, to midday, they prayed for their lives. They prayed for their futures. About 12 hours into their journey they saw an Italian coastguard ship on the horizon. Desperate to be noticed, the passengers on Mez’s boat became to jump up and down, shouting and waving their arms towards the ship.

The boat beneath them couldn’t take this movement and the wood began to splinter. People panicked as one by one they fell into the water. Most of them couldn’t swim and they held on to the bits of wood from the boat for dear life.

Mez thought he was going to die. On his own, aged 14, in the middle of the Mediterannean Sea.

But Mez was lucky. The Italian ship had seen them and sent out speedboats to pull the people from the water. They took them onto the ship and gave them blankets and biscuits. Mez hadn’t eaten for 15 days at this point.

Once back on dry land in Italy, Mez still had a difficult journey ahead, but after crossing Europe on foot / bunking trains, living in the Jungle, then hiding under the Eurotunnel train, he finally made it to the UK.

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This time round he was captain of our boat.

Mez, I am so infinitely proud of you for not letting your past define you, for seizing every moment and embracing your future with such strength and positivity. I love you <3

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The most kind, wise and worldy teenager

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One year ago today, my foster brother arrived to the UK, hiding under a the Eurotunnel train.

It was the end of a gruelling 9 month journey from Eritrea.

It was the best gift I have ever received and he has brought my family more happiness than I could have ever imagined.

One year on and he’s learnt English from scratch, is doing amazingly at school and has been granted 5 years leave to remain.

Not only this, he is growing into the most kind, wise and worldy teenager I have ever met.

This weekend he took a new friend, a young Eritrean boy who has just recently arrived to the UK, also alone, to see the sights of London.

Whilst they were walking along the South Bank, they were approached by a homeless man who asked them for money.

This is how the four teenage boys reacted:

Thank you Rufus Pinkerton for the edit and titles

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Lampedusa Cross

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My little foster brother has been upset this last week or so. He’s been struggling to go to school, and live life as normal, after hearing the devastating news of another boat sinking off the coast of Italy.

He made this very journey himself. By himself. He talks about the women screaming and the babies crying.

Many of the people on this boat were Eritrean Christian, just like him, fleeing persecution in their home country.

Of the 500 people on board this overcrowded boat, only 151 of them survived. The boat caught fire, capsized and sank, bringing men, women and children with it.

This cross is made from the wreckage of this boat. A carpenter on the island of Lampedusa collected these bits of boat and made a cross for each surviver, to reflect their salvation.

Our rescue team is undertaking training this summer to prepare them physically, mentally and emotionally, to continue working to do the very best we can to put an end to these devastating deaths.

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Libya to Italy

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My little Eritrean foster brother was upset this morning.

He was upset because he had seen on Facebook the news that hundreds of people have drowned on the crossing from Libya to Italy just this week. A boat journey that he himself made in this last year as part of his traumatic journey to safety.

The news had hit him hard. Hundreds of Eritreans, just like him, with a very different fate.

As he searched through the newspaper, he was even more upset at the lack of coverage, whilst the death of Mohamed Ali was impossible to miss.

Why do we mourn one person, but somehow manage to dehumanise the death of hundreds? Often turning a blind eye.

We are all connected. As soon as we communally realise that we’re all in this together, the sooner we will all benefit.

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