Clever Hybrids with GabyV

S4E12: A Refugee's Story | Sium Mogos | Eritrean Refugee in Germany and GabyV's Husband

Episode Summary

Sium Mogos, GabyV's husband, explains how speaking multiple languages kept him safe on his dangerous journey and is helping him rebuild his life in Germany.

Episode Notes

Sium Mogos, GabyV's husband, explains how speaking multiple languages kept him safe on his dangerous journey and is helping him rebuild his life in Germany.


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Episode Transcription

GabyV: Hello Clever Hybrids tribe, and welcome to the season finale of season four. Today we have a special guest. My husband Sium Mogos. Welcome mi amor. 

Sium Mogos: Thank you for having me. I'm very happy to be on your show.

GabyV: Yeah, I'm glad you could come. This is going to be very interesting about your journey from East Africa to Europe, including how you met me.

So let's get started.

Sium Mogos: Speaking different languages is always helpful because it helps you to communicate with people. So when I left my country, I spoke two languages. People spoke those languages in Sudan and Eritrea. So when I move to Sudan, I met the people who speak Tigre and when they heard me speak their language, they were very happy. I was living with them like a family member. They [gave] me a job and everyone became my friend. So that was very helpful because I was a kid. I did not know what to do.

I was just 16 years old, young boy ,very young age.

Oh yes. The main language of Sudan is Arabic. I learned by spending time with Arabic speaking people and by watching Arabic films. It is just like a baby. For one year or two years, you are just watching and listening your brain collects words and then you suddenly start talking. I learned Arabic and other languages in this way.


Sium Mogos: Because living in Sudan was not safe and you cannot [build] a life. So that was the reason I left Sudan, but I still love the people and the food and the music and the weather. Still, I miss that.

There were a lot of refuge camps in Italy. Some refugee camps were nice. They give you some money and a good place to live, but I was not lucky. There were over a thousand people at the refugee camp where I was. Every day, we had to wait three times in line to get food and the place where I lived was a shipping container. Actually I don't want to explain. But it was not very nice.

The way I learned Amharic is a little bit different. When I came to Germany, I was living with someone who spoke Amharic. He did not speak any other languages. He only spoke his language and he spoke a lot. So I learned by listening to him and copying him.

When I moved to Germany, my life totally changed because I had more opportunities a chance to work and to learn, to do whatever I need.

I had a course for one year and the course was from Monday to Friday, each day we had a class for [4 hours]. They taught us how to speak, how to write emails and letters, how to explain things and stuff like that. 

That is a very special question and really good question. It was in August, 2017 at [the] Tigrinya convention of Jehovah's Witnesses. I met you there. You spoke my language and you were very friendly to me and you were cute too. That's how I met you, my dear. And then in 2018, we got a chance to know each other better. Finally in October 2019, we decided to get married. So we are married now.

English is very important you guys, because you can use it in every country. I personally must learn it because of you and to communicate with your family.


Sium Mogos: Most of the time talking to you by listening [to] English music, and listening [to] interviews, and sometimes reading books, English books, and searching [for] new words and trying how to say it. So I do my best.

I use English, most of the time, talking with you. I use German most of the time at work to talk with my customers or my boss. I use Amharic when I talk with my relatives who speak Amharic or with someone on my way. I use Arabic when I talk with my friends from Sudan or sometimes with people from other countries where they speak Arabic. For example, people from Syria or from Morocco or from Iraq. [The] Tigre language, actually, I do not use it anymore because I [don't] meet people who speak Tigre. So just I listen to Tigre music. Yeah. Just like that.

Oh, yes. I want to say to anyone who [is] learning a new language, please don't give up. Keep doing it and finally you will succeed. I'm sure.

GabyV: And you are definitely proof that they will succeed. Thank you so much for preparing for this interview. I know it took us a few hours to get the answers together the way you wanted them. So I appreciate you taking the time and being patient and humble enough to look at my corrections.

And I wouldn't have been able to get this far in the show without you. 

Sium Mogos: My pleasure. Thank you for giving me this chance too. (both laugh as he gets up and leaves)