Mereht – The Woman in our Neighborhood
This is the story about a woman that lives in our neighborhood in my home town. She is a friend to my parents. Her name is Mereht, and she has lived in Norway the past 5 years with her two nephews, after they ran away from Eritrea.
The father of the two boys reported the leaders at his work place for corruption, but instead he was the one who was arrested by the police. His wife, the mother of the two boys was taken along with him, and threats were made to the rest of the family.
After several years, the two boys and their aunt – Mereht, travelled as refugees, and eventually found their way to Norway. By this time, they had no idea if their parents were still alive.
Finally, one day, after several years, Mereht receives a phone call from her Nephews’ dad. He and his wife had managed to run away from Eritrea after two years of living as prisoners. They were now refugees in Uganda, where they miraculously met a relative who had information about their two sons and Mereht, who were now living in Norway. He also had contacts in the embassy where they were able to help them get into Norway.
Today five years later, they are all reunited in Norway. Mereht is educated, working in Norway, and has now gotten a child of her own with her boyfriend. The mother of the two boys has gotten her residence permit, although their father is still in waiting process.
By telling this story, I wish that we all think about what the refugees in our countries, our neighborhoods, co-workers, and classmates, have been through – but most more importantly the courage it takes for them to stand where they are today. I wish that we all welcome them, let them tell their stories, and show our acceptance and interest in the diversity that our society presents for us.
By Benedikte, Denmark