Old man Wim

28 okt 2015

Biniam Biniam is a geographer living in asylum seeker centre Heumensoord Bekijk alle berichten van Biniam

Three days after I came to Heumensoord, I decided to visit the city of Nijmegen for the first time. I asked my friend Ahmed to go with me. Luckily, we were able to get a map from the nice people who come every day and give hot drinks and biscuits to refugees in the front of the Heumensoord camp.

As we were going to the city, the first thing I noticed was the long lines of tall trees that accompany you till you reach the city center. It really is green which makes you forget sometimes that you are in a city rather than in some beautiful garden. Another experience was that the streets seem to be deserted except for the occasionally passing cars and bicycles. Some Dutch buildings like the tall Erasmus building remind me of the buildings found at the center of Asmara (the capital city of Eritrea and the city where I grew up) that were built by the Italians 80 years ago. Those old buildings are some good examples of the Art Deco buildings which were common during the 19th and 20th century in Italian cities. They are some of the most beautiful buildings and can be found in Asmara intact and as pretty as they were 80 years ago.

One thing I must mention is the helpfulness and generosity of the people of Nijmegen. While we were in the city center my friend Ahmed and I were looking for a second hand shop in Prins Hendrikstraat, but we were lost and were having a difficult time locating it on the map. Then, suddenly, an old man called Wim came to us and asked us what we were looking for. We told him our problem, and without hesitation he said that he could take us there even though he was going in a different direction and also despite the fact that he was 80 years old. We were really amazed and short of words for thanking him.

I am certainly sure we are not the only refugees who have the blessing to experience such good actions by people of Nijmegen, and these good deeds make you forget the ugly things that forced us to flee our home country and the bitter journeys that we have taken to come here.

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