My name is Faycel and this is my trip from Bosnia to France.

May 2021: It’s been aproximately 1 year since I arrived to Bosnia, starting from Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. I tried a few times to reach Slovenia, but I was always pushed back to Bosnia.

One time I tried to reach Slovenia again with Ayoub, my friend from Marocco, who had already spent 3 years in Bosnia. This time we tried with a bus.

First we took a train from Sarajevo to Mostar, we crossed the Croatian border, then we walked 5 days to reach Split. We were lucky because we had a Croatian friend, let’s call her Benny. She found us a place to stay where we could take a shower and get hot food – after eating canned food for 5 days it felt amazing. We had a great time there, we met some nice people and we laughed a lot when we were telling them our experience from the road. It really warmed our hearts to be in this friendly and safe situation for a night. In the morning we took a bus to Rijeka, it was a 350 km long journey and we spet 8 hours on the bus, but it was much better then walking in the Croatian forrests.

We reached Rijeka on the same day at around 8pm, we had clean clothes so we could walk around like a normal citizens. With our small bags we reached a nearby hill quickly, one person managed to bring us some food and we are really thankful to her for that.

We started to walk and in around 23 hours we reached the Slovenian border. This was at 9 o’clock AM. We didn’t sleep at all because we were more motivated to reach the European Union then to rest. Everything was going according to plan, but then we faced a problem that many migrants face when they walk towards Europe. We ran out of food and water and there were still many kilometers to walk until reaching Italy. We were afraid to go to the police and ask for help because the Slovenian police had returned us back to Bosnia so many times before. It was already afternoon when we found a water tank on the map and we headed in that direction. But then one Slovenian person saw us and he called the police, so we ended up in their hands anyway.

There were 3 police cars parked behind that water tank, waiting for migrants to pass that way. When they saw us, policemen came out of the cars and told us to stop. They were speaking in Slovenian language, but after spending so much time in Bosnia and learning Bosnian, I could understand. We really didn’t want to be sent back to Bosnia, so we ran back to the forrest and hid behind the trees. They were searching for us but couldn’t find us. After they started to shoot in the air to force us to go out of our hiding.

In that moment me and Ayoub were thinking what we should do. We knew that eventually they will find us anyway, because they were not leaving the spot. So we put on some clean clothes and arranged our hair, we smoked one cigarette and then we walked to the village and ask some people to call the police because we want to seek asylum. The people gave us food and then they called the police.

A few minutes later the police came. We told them that their collegues were chasing us in the forrest and that we want to ask for asylum in Slovenia. The man told us we can only do it at the police station, so they called a van and they took us there. We had an interview and we had to tell them everything about our journey. After they took us to Postojna detention center. This is a deportation center, not an asylum home, so we were worried what will happen to us and we didn’t even trust that they accepted our asylum claim. We were right. They didn’t. We were asking the police and social workers many questions about our current situation, but they kept ignoring us for days. Then on Monday a policeman came and ordered us to come with him, because he is going to drive us for a corona test to the hospital. We thought maybe they will transfer us to the Ljubljana asylum home, but no, they didn’t drive us to the hospital or to the asylum home, they drove us to the Croatian border.

We entered one small room at the Croatian border police station and we had to fill some forms. It was the pushback procedure. But then one unusual thing happended. The Croatian policewoman asked us, if we had asked for asylum in Slovenia. We told her yes, of course we did, but they didn’t listen to us. Then she called the Slovenian police officers and told them what we said. They said this is not true and that we are lying. Then she turned again to us and told us we should write it on a paper. “I want asylum in Slovenia”. Then she took a photo of us with that paper in our hands and sent us back to the Slovenian police. They were furuous and after that they even beat us. But they had to take us back to the Postojna detention center. We were happy to escape the pushback deportation, but we were also worried that we will stay imprisoned in this Postojna center for many months. We had met some people there and they told us that they were inside for 3 months or even more. It’s a prison, but for no crime.

In Postojna we asked our social worker what will happen to us. She advided us to arrange a meeting with the police inspector, but he was busy all the time, he didn’t have time for us. So we wrote our asylum request on one paper and gave it to the police. After 3 hours they told us that we will be transfered to the asylum home in Ljubljana. I was so happy but I didn’t really trust them until I actually came to this camp. They put us in the quaranteen for 10 days and after they transfered us to the asylum home in the center of Ljubljana. Finally we were free and we could walk around and see the city.

When we were in Postojna, we were in contact with one person from a Slovenian local activist collective who is supporting refugees. We visited them in their community center and we were hanging out with them for few days.

Then one day we met one person and he offered us a ride to Italy, we went with him and now we are both in France.