Hekma grew up in western Sudan and lived a normal and happy life. This all changed when she got married. Her husband’s family considered his choice of bride a disgrace because Hekma came from a dark-skinned tribe that traditionally had been seen as slaves. When she had given birth to her son and was pregnant with her daughter, she decided to leave Sudan because of the hatred she met from her in-laws.
“I went by bus from Sudan to Cairo. His family in Sudan, after my daughter was born and was black like me, said they didn’t want her because she was black, and they would come to kill my children.”
Hekma wanted to escape somewhere with her children. From movies she had watched, she got the impression that there is no racism in Europe. A friend helped to arrange the journey. Hekma borrowed money and used her small savings to pay the smuggler, who promised her an easy sea crossing. She departed for Alexandria with her friend. They spent 12 days in a hiding place, waiting for the passage.
"Then the Egyptian government discovered our plans and we were caught. When the police came, some people ran away and travelled. I have two babies so I couldn’t carry them and run with them. So we got caught.”
Her friend managed to escape and got on the boat, but later she heard that he had died at sea. Hekma returned to Cairo, where her children had to be treated for malnutrition. The conditions in the holding place had been bad, with very little food, and the children suffered. Today Hekma is glad that she did not go with the boat. She says she will never again put her children in danger.
“If we had travelled and something happened to my children on the way, I’d have regretted it my whole life. I thank God we didn’t travel. I will never again put my children at risk.”