Some Zimbabwean students, who are studying in various universities in Ukraine, say their lives were hanging by the thread when they decided to flee the country at the height of a fierce war, and seek refuge in Poland, Hungary and other nations.
Most of them say they never thought they would make it to the neighboring countries as the Russia/Ukraine war intensified by the day.
VOA Studio 7 spoke to some of the students, who say they survived by the grace of God. Their future is uncertain.
Nolie Moyo, who is a student at the National University of Trade and Commerce in Kyiv, spent five days and five night attempting to board buses and trains from the Unkranian capital to a neighboring nation.
“Five days and five nights being denied to board the buses and trains from Kiev. We passed through Odessa to Romania. But at the border they treated us well and we passed through the border without problems. At the moment l’m in Bucharest and I haven't experienced any racism. I'm waiting for my uncle to buy me an air ticket to help me go back home. I don't know what will happen to my education.”
John Masamba, another Zimbabwean studying in Ukraine, says he is now in Germany.
“I'm on scholarship studying medicine … I ran away last Monday from Kiev. I'm now in Franfurt, Germany, trying to fix my travel documents. Once done l’m going back home. Though there was too much racism, (with some security and immigration officials) trying to block us the black people, l managed to force myself into the train.”
Sihle Ndlovu, who is studying bio-chemistry, is still being haunted by the war even If she managed to sneak out of Ukraine.
“I'm still in panic mood. l don't know. L’m scared. I'm thinking l will die. I'm in my last year studying biochemistry at Bogomolets. I'm in Poland at the moment in a place called Lublin. Now l’m at a shelter where they provided us with accommodation. They said they will take us to another town called Przemyśl where we will find ways to go back to Zimbabwe,” says a sobbing Sihle, who is among several students currently in Poland.
She adds that “I don't know about my future. l have lost hope.”
Roland Nleya, an engineering student at Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, says, he can’t live in Poland as a refugee.
“I don't know what l will do and what's next for me. I just have to go back home because l can't stay in Poland. I have no money and to live here like a refugee is tough for me because l have realized people here some people hate black people and it's sad.”
The Zimbabwean government claims that it has so far helped 118 students to leave Ukraine. There is uncertainty over the number of Zimbabwean students studying in that country. But some of them, whose tickets were bought by the government when they landed in other nations, have since returned home.
Information Minister, Monica Mutsvanga, says, “The government is working flat out using our embassies both in Germany and Russia to make sure that we help our Zimbabwean citizens. They are working flat out on it. They have been given resources from home to make sure that they help rescue all our children. About those 118 students … They are buying their tickets to come home.”
According to the Associated Press, more than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine amid a devastating war. The United States estimates that over five million people will flee the war-torn country and seek refuge in European nations.