Moussa left Cameroon in search of safety, an education, better life opportunities and to seek asylum in Europe. Although he was able to travel from Cameroon to Turkey by flight he was forced to take a journey crossing the threatening Aegean sea on a cramped rubber dinghy, amongst high waves, arriving at the Greek Island of Chios. This is where we, at Refugee Biriyani & Bananas first met him. This is a trip that can be done in 45 minutes via ferry for tourists, however, people seeking asylum are forced into unofficial journeys where Moussa’s journey took 5 hours. He crossed in the dead of the night and ‘It was dangerous,’ he explains.
When he finally reached Chios he had no choice but to live in the tents and containers of Vial Refugee Camp, where he waited 4 years for his asylum to be processed. Like all other residents of Vial refugee camp, he too battled food insecurity, long and unsure asylum seeking processes and a lack of the most basic of necessities which is not only physically demanding, it is ‘soul destroying’ as described by those we support there.
Despite his circumstances, Moussa was always keen to help others in circumstances like him and was always motivated to do more. A devout Muslim, whilst situated in the camp he became the camp’s Imam, leading the prayer sessions in a makeshift mosque. A respected member of the community, he also volunteered with other NGOs and as a trained tailor, participated in tailoring projects.
In addition, he also played football professionally and was a member of the football team in Chios called Dafni Dafnonas.
Moussa is a huge football fan, played football professionally in his home country, continued to play football in Chios with camp friends and the local team, and makes sure he watches every game he can! Supporting Barcelona, his dream is to play for them professionally one day.
Moussa was finally granted asylum in Greece and has now been living in Athens for the past two years. Whilst in Athens he started volunteering with RBB and has been a credit to our organisation with his passion for helping those in need, eventually becoming our field coordinator.
We were also honoured when Moussa and his friends from Cameroon cooked their traditional food of spiced fish, cassava and plantain for us.
About volunteering Musa says: “It is on my conscience to help people, I don’t want anyone to be in the bad situation I was in.”
Earlier on in the year Moussa was signed up to play professional football with a team in Athens.
For now, whilst working and playing football, Moussa is also focusing on studying to be a web developer. He is always looking for ways to better his time here in Greece by self study. Moussa can speak not only his mother tongue and French, but he also taught himself English by attending lessons, watching YouTube and now he is learning Greek also!