Aasiya was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. When she grew up, she wanted to study and become a journalist, but when her brother was attacked by al-Shabaab terrorists she had to stay at home because of security. She still wanted to achieve her ambitions and decided to flee Somalia and go to Europe via Egypt. She left for Kenya, telling her parents that she went there to pursue her studies. In Nairobi, she contacted a smuggler and was taken to Uganda hiding in a minibus and from there to Juba, South Sudan. There, together with another girl, Aasiya negotiated with a smuggler to take them to Khartoum.
“The smuggler took our money, but he wasted our time. He kept telling us to wait, until the last night, when he said there were people going to Libya and he’d send us with them if we wanted to go to Europe.”
Aasiya realised that the smuggler wanted to take them to Libya because he would earn much more money sending them there than to Egypt. She contacted an aunt in Khartoum who found them another smuggler. They set off on the journey to Khartoum. It was very difficult. They hade to stay in several hiding places for more than a month. The conditions were awful.
“We were scared. We used to close the door and couldn’t sleep at night because of fear. We would sleep for a few hours and then wake up. We didn’t get enough sleep and we lacked food. I also vomited a lot.The malaria I caught in Juba had become painful when we reached Sudan.”
In one of the hiding places, the man who owned the house tried to take advantage of Aasiya, but she resisted, and they managed to continue the journey. In Khartoum, her aunt helped her to get another smuggler and she departed for Egypt, but she and her group were caught by police and returned to Khartoum. The second attempt was successful, and Aasiya went by car to the mountains at the border between Sudan and Egypt. They had to cross the mountains on foot and Aasiya was tired and exhausted.
"I lost energy and had a fall on the mountain. I was the last person walking at the end of the line. I got injured when I fell.”
After a week she arrived In Cairo, hoping to continue by boat to Europe, but found out that the government had closed that smuggling route. She now lives in Cairo with her little daughter and feels her life is wasted. She is telling everyone asking her advice about going to Egypt with smugglers that it is not worth the effort.