the story of my afghan friend

Portrait of my afghan friend on the day he arrived in Oslo.

Let me tell you the story of my afghan friend.

My afghan friend left Afghanistan in the beginning of the summer. Someone he knows helped him out of the country by contacting an "agent". Together with other afghans they walked over borders through forests and mountains, sometimes for up to 36 hours. After each crossing they traveled by bus and train. They were heading west, in the direction of a land where they wouldn't constantly fear for their lives. In the past years my friend's father, brother and sisters have all been killed by the Taliban.
When he was younger he heard from a friend that Norway is a beautiful country, little did he know that he would live get there one day. The people from the group he was traveling with were all going to different countries. From Germany my friend traveled on his own.

I met him for the first and only time a few weeks ago. He was wearing sandals, a pair of jeans, a sweater and had nothing else with him than these clothes and a 50€ bill. No backpack, no cellphone, no picture of his family, nothing. "Excuse me sir, where is the police station?" he asked. We walked together. On the way to the police station he told me he had just arrived, at this very moment, from Afghanistan. I asked him if he was hungry, he wasn't. I asked him if he knew somebody here, he didn't. All he wanted, was to go to the police station and live in Norway. He was so happy to be here. Upon our arrival at the police station we found closed doors. I was relieved. I wanted to know more about him and I had my doubts about delivering him to the police; what if they just sent him back? What could I do for him? Hide him from the Norwegian authorities?
I called an afghan friend of mine who has done the same trip as him twice (the first time he came to Norway he was sent back). I wanted them to meet and I wanted to know what was best for him. We met, they chatted, and after a while we decided together that we would bring him to a police station nearby that was open; because of his young age (he's only fourteen!) and his story; we believed that they would let him stay. I really hope they do, anything else would be inhumane.

I also hope I'll hear from him one day. If you ever read this, please contact me I want to help you.

Sébastian Dahl Photographer, Oslo

Photography and adventures.