The Turning Point
In the labyrinth of the corridors of the Ministry of Information—a name that conjures up illusions of Orwell’s 1984—I could not quite believe that it was actually happening. Something I had aspired to since I began this trip was suddenly starting to take form, to become real.
I sat in a deep, leather armchair in one of the offices, filled out a form and handed over my passport with two passport photographs, expecting this dream to crumble away with refusal.
A little over a year ago, I was laying in a refuge on the slopes of Mount Toubkal*. For the past eight months, I have been traveling through the Middle East, learning, practicing, meeting people who are doing what I want to do, and dreaming.
Then, one hot afternoon in Khartoum, I received an e-mail asking me if I would work on an assignment for a German magazine as a photographer. Two days later, I am with the bureau chief for AFP as he introduces me to the official who will decide whether I can step into this world.
As the question was leaving my mouth about whether my tourist visa would bar entry to the world of journalism, I checked myself. It is better to not ask questions to which you do not want to hear the answer.
Twenty minutes later, I had a press-card in my hand, and two days later I was in an Ethiopian restaurant, meeting the German journalist with whom I would be working.
I spent the best part of a week with her and some Eritrean refugees, documenting the story of Zekarias, who had fled his homeland eight years previously. Khartoum was part of his clandestine route to Europe, where he now lives. He had not seen his mother since he left, and now, back in the hot, dusty streets of Khartoum, he would be reunited with her.
On the days when I was shooting, I would wake up clogged by anticipation and fear. Was I capable of this? - the feeling of being out of my depth ever-present. But this was the turning point, the first step towards realising this ambition. Sat in a boat on the Blue Nile, touring Tuti Island, I knew that this was the path I wanted to take.
And so it starts…
» Read more about the story of Zekarias in my portfolio.