Name: Maria Borg Cremona
Title: Abdul's Adventure
“Hello, my…wait.. Mama, how do I know that it’s recording?”
“You’ll know it’s recording when you see the red light, right there…see?”
“Ah ok, so…hello everybody, my name is Abdullah but everyone calls me Abdul. And I’m going to tell you about my adventure.
I remember when it all started. I remember Mama coming into my room and saying, ‘Abdul, we are going on an adventure.’ I started jumping on the bed. We were going on an adventure! I couldn’t believe it! I had heard about grand and wonderful adventures in my mother’s stories…now, it was happening to me!
‘When will we be back Mama?’
I don’t know if we’ll ever come back. But don’t you worry, this adventure will take us to a beautiful place. Now, before you get too excited, I want you to listen to me carefully. I want you to hold my hand at all times. Don’t let go. Remember the stories of Odysseus and Sinbad? There were dangers on their paths and we too will come across obstacles.’
‘You mean, like, pirates….or monsters?’
‘Maybe…but we will be together. This is our adventure Abdul.’
‘Ok Mama, let’s go!’
We left Homs at midnight. The bombs had stopped for the day. We crept like ﬁeld mice through the rubble and ruins of houses, schools and shops. We travelled in a large group. We walked across hot deserts, burnt ﬁelds and barren land. We faced hunger, thirst, cold and fatigue. When we stopped to rest, Mama told us more stories, about brave heroes who went on dangerous adventures. Mama says that a hero’s journey is never easy. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be an adventure. I wasn’t scared when it got dark…or when we were told to hide because soldiers were close by. My sandals were torn… there were blisters all over my feet… but I was too excited to notice.
According to Mama, the biggest challenge is crossing the Medi….Medi…terr… onian..no,….Medi-terr-anean Sea. Mama says that we have to cross this sea to get to Europe. Mama managed to get us on this boat. There are about 500 people. It is old. We are crammed. There are Syrians, like us, and many others from different countries. I’m sitting next to Alan, my new friend. ‘Alan, say hello. I’m talking about my adventure.’
Today the sea is ok, but yesterday it was very rough. I got a bit scared because I don’t know how to swim. Some people screamed and cried. But Mama kept whispering,
‘Odysseus wasn’t scared by some waves, was he?’
The sun today is very hot. Oh…wait, I see something…a small boat. It’s coming towards us. There are 10 men on board. What…what are they doing? Mama…why are they throwing stones at us?’
‘Get off that boat. You need to get on this one.’
‘Are you crazy? How are we going to ﬁt on that small boat? We would sink straight away.’
‘Leave us alone! Go away!’
‘Mama…Mama, are they going away?’
‘Yes, Abdul. Those were some nasty pirates…but we showed them, didn’t we?’”
“Now, I am playing rock, paper, scissors with Alan. I am winning…hey, hey Alan, don’t cheat! You can’t…wait what’s that sound? Oh look…those pirates are here again…why do they have sticks? Mama, Mama, they’re destroying the boat! Mama….Mama, there’s a hole in the side….Mama, Mama, watch out!”
‘Abdul, please stop recording. Stop.’
‘You ﬁlth! Let the ﬁsh feast upon your ﬂesh!’
‘Mama, what’s going on? We’re sinking…Mama…’
‘Abdul, don’t let go. Hold my hand!’
‘Mama, Mama…why are you crying? Is this no longer an adventure?’”
My name is Megan Callahan. I work with MOAS. I was part of the rescue team that found Abdul’s capsized boat on 12th August 2015. Unfortunately, Abdul and his mother drew their last breaths as we brought them on our ship. They had been hanging to a life ring for two whole days. That was one of the worst tragedies we have ever seen. A criminal enquiry was set up to investigate the events of that day but it’s all been forgotten. Before Abdul closed his eyes, he opened his backpack and gave me this recording device. He wanted to share his grand adventure, even though it cost him his life….I thought that the whole world should stop and listen to his story.