A detainee at Yarl’s Wood

She finally made it. She left the UK last night ( Thursday ) at 8 pm. I was talking to her a few minutes before her departure. She said immigration officers were treating her well and they had arranged a taxi very early in the morning to make sure she does not miss her flight for the third time. She spent all day at the airport but at least she was happy that the nightmare will end soon.

And now she is in her home country. A beautiful place where she finds her family, friends and cousins. The thing is she needs to get a divorce from her husband who is a British citizen. I am not sure if she can manage to do that,  considering hat she is now living in a far country and have not access to the UK legal system: a problem   facing some female asylum seekers in the UK.

Apart from all the distresses of asylum life we went through, we have been good friends since she came to Manchester in 2013. To me, she has been not only a good friend who taught me how to overcome my fears of riding a bicycle, but also an example of a strong & level- headed woman who could live through the difficulties of asylum life without suffering from anxiety and depression.

She tried her best to make a new life here but in the end when all the appeals on her case have been rejected, she decided to not fight anymore and find her happiness else where. I know she has some problems back home and she may not be able to go back to her home town yet. She told me she will probably go to a neighboring country to live and work along with her aunties.

I am wishing her a happy life and I wish freedom for all the detainees at Yarl’s Wood and other detention centers.

read the second part of story here

Her nightmare continues


She couldn’t make it again. Going to Heathrow airport and back to Yarl’s Wood detention centre. Such a nightmare!

Authorities failed to put her on the plane just because the company which provides transport could not get her to Heathrow airport in time, and this has happened for two consecutive weeks now. Fed up  with all this up and down, she asked the Home Office to let her buy her own ticket. They agreed on the condition that she leaves the UK before the 2nd of February. A friend paid for her ticket and it’s now booked for Thursday.

She told me horrifying stories of women who have been kept there for more than a year without any charge or without trying to send them home. She said she does not want to end up being one of them and she wants her freedom.

I speak to her every day to make sure she is fine and not loosing her spirit. I am waiting for Thursday to see if this failure will repeat for third time or she will escape the nightmare.

Read the first part  of the story here



The nightmare of an asylum seeker

I went to Bedfordshire yesterday to say goodbye to a friend. She has been in Yarl’s Wood detention centre since last week. Yarl’s Wood is an immigration removal centre and she was taken there because  her asylum case has been refused.

It was very sad to see her losing a lot of weight and almost looking like a different person. To me she has always been an example of a strong woman, and seeing her broken and hopeless was not something that I would have expected to see. She lived in the UK for nearly 5 years, went through many changes and still has to finish her divorce from her husband who is white and British. Unfortunately her reasons were not accepted by the Home Office or Upper Tribunal.

Her flight to Africa had been booked for 7pm last night and she told me that this nightmare has to end one way or another. She said ”I am not a criminal and no one could take my freedom”. All her applications already been refused and she had been told that she should be on the flight on Monday. However, instead of taking her to the airport, they have moved her to another detention facility. I do not know what the reason is and I have never been in detention before, but I  know how it feels living in limbo and fear. I hope her nightmare ends soon.  One way or another.

Yarl’s wood