About Refugees, By Refugees
Eric Irangabiye Bizimana
Trigger Warning: Violence
Uhm, can you introduce yourself? Tell us your name and the occupation you had before.
Uhm, my name is Eric IRANGABIYE BIZIMANA, I was a drummer in my country, yes.
And Bukuru Tresor, what is your highest level of education?
I did 13 years of school.
Ok. And how did you decide to come here?
The reason was that in Burundi my country, I realized that there are no jobs, no way to ear life, and I decide to come here to see if I can find ways to make life.
You had no occupation when you was still in Burundi?
I could not see future for all things I was trying to do because I had no means necessary to reach my objective.
Uhm, who helped you to come here?
I asked family members to financially supported till I collected enough funds to reach here.
Uhm, and when you arrived in Europe, what difference did you realize between here and Burundi?
The difference is access to food and warm hospitality here, yeah!
Did you come till here by plane or legs?
I came by plane.
How many countries did you cross before you arrive here?
I took a flight from Burundi to Ethiopia, Turkey, Luxembourg till Serbia from where I continued the journey by legs to arrive here in Bosnia.
Was it easy for you to come here in Europe?
No, it was not that easy because I had to sacrifice a lot, to struggle much, yes.
Does it happen for you to think about what happened to you when you was still in Burundi?
Uhm, I think a lot about it because it is something that hurt me a lot, something I cannot forget in my life.
How do you feel when you think about it?
I feel very bad.
Ok. And you said that you started walking from Serbia to Bosnia.
What did you learn from that?
That taught me that life is very tough.
It taught that no person can reach his objective without putting in a lot of efforts, significant sacrifices.
When you was still in Burundi, did you every think that you could encounter problems like these ones you are facing? Doing long walks, tiredness, …
Yeah, I thought about it because I knew that I would walk long and get much tired. [inaudible]
You was mentally prepared.
Mentally, I never thought it would be as hard as it was, and it is even harder now.
And, ah, did Covid affect you mentally?
Mentally, yes, it happened to be locked in the country to the point no people were working.
How did you manage to get out of problems? What did you do to overcome them? What strategies did you use to get rid of them?
No strategies, I would say that it is the grace of God, and I don’t that challenges are over.
Uhm, before leaving your mother country? What were your dreams?
The dream I had was to have a good life and found a family as well.
Yes. But that came to be impossible in my mother country because I had no means required to do that.
Before leaving your family, I asked about the dream you had before leaving the country, you responded. So now, before leaving your family, what dream did you have?
Dream… (Interrupted by the interviewer)
Before leaving your family.
Before leaving my family.
The dream was to be financially good so that I can be able to help my family.
Because I come from a very poor family.
And you got hurt from the life you have been through, do you think that will help in your future life?
That may help me in the future, yes.
Like what that may help you with?
Because there are jobs here, there is a possibility for me to work so I can take care of myself to reach the dream I had for my life.
Uhm, what would you tell the youth or Europeans so they understand the life of refugees?
I would tell them that a human is a human, they should treat a person respectfully and even help them.
Euh, another thing I would want to ask you, how was life in Burundi in your perception?
It is a very hard life. Uhm, it is a tough life. You may have strength but still don’t get a job. There is no freedom. You cannot do what your heart tells to do. Yeah, that is why life out there is hard.
All right. So, when you left the country and came here…
The time you left Burundi coming to Europe.
I had asked you that question, but I would want us to go deep with it.
Challenges you have been encountering.
Challenges I have been facing are people stealing our belonging on the way, beating us, not getting food on the way, being returned back when you already started the journey, were very heavy and tough situations.
Yes, those the main problems I have been having.
But they did build you.
Yes, they did, because now I can see that I am approaching my destination.
Ok, thank you.
(Interviewer calling someone else)