I joined the freedom movement in Eritrea as a young man shortly before the war for independence was won. I wanted to help my people. After independence, in 1991, I was released from the army, but then I was conscripted again for the border war with Ethiopia in 1998. I deserted, was jailed, escaped, and was jailed again — this time for five years. In prison I had no shoes, and I suffered constant arbitrary intimidation and beatings. Immediately after my release I fled Eritrea and came here. I regret the loss of five productive years of my life in prison, but now as a member of the camp’s Refugee Community Council I feel productive, by being able to help my people.