My Boyfriend Went to Sweden

By Joseline Mushimiyimana

Fabrice is an extraordinary man who has the ability to make me feel like no one else in the world. My life took an unexpected turn for the better the moment I met him in the Dzaleka refugee camp in 2020. It happened at a party hosted by a close friend. Our paths crossed, and we instantly knew we were destined to be together. Fabrice was living in Dzaleka as a refugee from Burundi. He had fled due to the conflicts in his home country, where Tutsi people were being killed. When he arrived at the camp, he requested help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and they decided he should eventually be taken to a third country.

When I saw him at the party, he looked so lonely. I thought he wanted someone to talk to, and so I approached him. We went outside the fence and talked for an hour or so, getting to know each other. That hour was the best part of the party. I was surprised at how fast we established a bond. Fabrice’s warm, genuine smile left a permanent mark in my heart. I could not stop thinking about him. As for him, he wasted no time in expressing his feelings for me. He proposed just a week after we first met. His sincerity and the way he looked at me made it impossible for me to say no. With a heart full of hope and excitement, I accepted to be his girlfriend.

There have been unforgettable moments in our relationship that I will always cherish. I remember when we went to the Chikho hotel, a beautiful hotel in the Mponela district. It was the first time I had ever set foot in a hotel. I had always dreamt of experiencing the luxury and comfort of such a place, and sharing that moment with him made it even more special. We spent hours at the hotel’s beautiful pool, lying in the Kapinga grass and enjoying the sun and each other’s company. After we went swimming, we went to the hotel’s restaurant to satisfy our hunger. The food was delicious – I had some chicken, rice, and chips – and I couldn’t help but smile at how wonderful everything was.

The visit to the Chikho hotel was not just a new experience but a symbol of our shared adventure and the love that continues to grow between us. Our relationship blossomed, despite the challenges of life in the refugee camp. The cost of living was too high. We couldn’t afford to meet our basic needs because neither of us had a stable job. But I never cared that we had so little money because I loved him and had hopes for a better future. We shared dreams, aspirations, and countless moments of joy and comfort. Fabrice’s love was a source of strength and inspiration, and our bond grew stronger with every passing year.

Recalling these moments makes me miss him more and more with every passing day. I wish he could be here now so that we could revisit those sweet memories together. But fate had other plans in store. Fabrice was offered the opportunity of resettlement in Sweden. I believe he decided to accept the offer not out of any lack of love for me but for the sake of our relationship. He wanted to secure a brighter future and a better life for both of us, and for the children we want to have together.

I still face some difficulties here in the camp. I feel so bad that my boyfriend is far away and that we cannot go for walks together as we used to. I have trouble accepting that he is not here with me. When we talk on the phone, he tells me that it is only a matter of time before I can follow him to Sweden. However, for me to be able to move there, we would have to get married and obtain a marriage certificate that proves we are husband and wife. I can’t wait to get married to him and grow old together. He tells me that Sweden is a beautiful country. I can’t wait to be there so that we can go for walks in places that are just as beautiful as here in Malawi.

Although he is now many miles away from me, our love remains unbreakable. We continue to communicate and share our dreams, hopes, and plans for the future. We share lovely moments when we video chat on WhatsApp. We tell each other stories and remind ourselves of the experiences we had here in Malawi. I look forward to the day when Fabrice achieves the success he deserves and we can make a beautiful family and a better life together. I believe that the distance between us is only a temporary obstacle and that we will soon meet again. I cherish every moment we spent together and eagerly anticipate the day I will join him in Sweden. He is doing everything he can to start the reunion process.

13 October, 2023