A Ghanaian refugee who almost died during a trek to cross the U.S.-Canada border into Manitoba on Christmas Eve will lose all of his fingers, a toe and possibly his arms.
“It’s very bad news,” Seidu Mohammed, 24, told CBC News in an interview at a Winnipeg hospital where he is being treated for severe frostbite. “I don’t know what to do right now.”
Mohammed said he fled Ghana for the United States in 2015 because he feared for his life due to his sexual orientation, but when he arrived in San Diego, he was detained for a year.
He applied for asylum after his visa ran out but a judge denied his request.
“I run for my life,” Mohammed said.
He and another Ghanaian man, who he met in Minneapolis, decided to flee to Canada. The two of them took a bus to Grand Forks, N.D., then flagged a cab and spent $400 for a ride to a spot near the U.S.-Canada border on Dec. 24.
“There is a big farm around the border and we passed through,” said Mohammed. “It was very difficult because when we stepped in that farm, the snow was [at] our waists.”
‘If not for [a truck driver], we would have died in that snow.’ – Seidu Mohammed, refugee
For at least seven hours, the two trudged through snowy fields with the temperature hovering around the –18 C mark, without the wind chill factored in.