Story of Adama

Ukraine (Sierra Leone)

CNN Producer Bijan Hosseini tweeted the astonishing escape story of his sister, who fled Kyiv amidst the Russian military aggression in Ukraine.


Bijan's sister, Adama*, was adopted from Sierra Leone; her birthplace significantly hindered her escape. She experienced racism, injuries, freezing temperatures, and sleep deprivation throughout the ordeal.


After the war broke out, Bijan's sister and her acquaintances paid a driver $700 to take them to Dnipro; a city located 500km southeast of Kyiv. From Dnipro, they hoped to find transport to Lviv in the west of Ukraine. However, once they arrived, they found that there was none available. Therefore they begged the driver to take them to Lviv, who agreed to an additional $1,500. They all piled into a Sedan, all 18 of them, including a 13-month-old baby.


Once they reached Lviv, after a painstaking 30 hours on the road, the driver admitted that he had to return to Kyiv. Everyone had to attempt to get to the border on foot.


Bijan's sister and the others spent 10 hours walking in freezing temperatures before they decided to leave their belongings to lighten the load. When they reached the border, there were two queues, one for white people and one for everyone else. Only Ukrainians were allowed to cross, leaving thousands of people to sleep outside in the cold.


The following morning his sister fainted. She was exhausted and had not had proper food or sleep in days. An ambulance picked her up and drove her 4 miles back east. She was given some fluids and was able to take some rest.

After leaving the hospital and returning to Lviv, there were hopes of getting a bus ticket out of Ukraine.


Unfortunately, a 2.5-hour bus trip to Przemysl was supposed to take 24 hours to reach the border. Then, someone announced that "all blacks" needed to get off at the border. His sister and her friends bravely refused to get off.

They were met with the same racist treatment that countless others have reported at borders, bus, and train stations across the country. After waiting for 5 hours, they were finally let through - ending their 108-hour journey.


His sister is safe.


*name changed

Written by Rethinking Refugees

Photo - Twitter Bijan Hosseini

Story of Adama