I was nervous when I arrived at the migration office. Was I allowed to be there? Could I talk to others. Would they talk to me?
I walked into the reception. There were a handful of people waiting and a worker was behind a counter, speaking to a family. I walked back outside and thought to strike up a conversation with smokers in the parking lot. But the family who had been at the counter - a mother, a father and a boy who had lost part of his right arm - came out and asked me for help. They needed to find the building for fingerprinting. I ducked back into the reception, got directions to an office four buildings away, and began walking with the family down the road.
The building we left behind was for lodging. The building we were heading to was where you filed for asylum. The family told me they had come from Egypt and seen many people die on their way. Walking with them the final blocks to officially seek asylum, I was immensely grateful this family had survived.
We found where we needed to go. I can't recall seeing many government offices open for service on Sunday mornings. But this one was full of life. The seating area was packed, and there were a number of workers behind a counter. They looked busy. When we approached a woman greeted us with a smile. She offered the family an Arabic interpreter and the process was underway. I took a step back and let them do what they'd come so far to do.
After a few minutes, they were done with the initial proceedings. They needed to return to the first building, and the four of us headed back together. We chatted some more. The father told me they had lived in the center of Cairo and that it was "not good. Not safe." He said there was high risk that their boy would be kidnapped.
There's such complexity to the issues of migration. Who bears responsibility for whom, and why. But it is also simple. I said "Sweden is safe. Sweden is good." I was glad to be able to say this to them.