(NEW YORK) — Mohamed Ahmed went back to Sudan for the first time in 13 years for his father’s funeral earlier this month. He was scheduled to come back to his family in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on April 19 — but clashes between Sudan’s warring parties left him stranded and unable to immediately return.
His wife Jacy Ahmed said she’s anxious to see her husband again, as he’s now en route home via a 50-hour journey back to the U.S.
The conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted on April 15. More than 420 people have been killed and 3,700 people injured, the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office said Sunday.
Jacy Ahmed recalled when Mohamed told her that morning that he wouldn’t be coming home to his family when planned.
“He said, ‘Honey war broke out,"” she told ABC News. “‘I might have to stay in this country a little bit longer.’ And I just I flipped, I flipped out.”
She said they were able to communicate despite weak internet in Mohamed’s area.
“We typically speak daily or at least text,” Jacy Ahmed said.
Her husband had been staying in Omdurman, Sudan, with family, she said.
The couple met at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where Mohamed was learning English and Jacy was an adjunct, she said. Mohamed came to the United States as an immigration lottery selection, she continued, and they both spent a lot of time together before marrying. The couple is just months away from their nine-year anniversary; they run a local cleaning service and have three daughters who are 6, 10 and 13 years old.
“They would just say, ‘When is he going to be back; and he would say, ‘Well, soon we’re working on it soon,"” Jacy Ahmed said.
Mohamed Ahmed had a scary encounter when he was on the phone with Jacy and an aircraft was heard flying over the house in Omdurman, she said.
Jacy Ahmed said she could hear how loud it was, and her husband said it was causing the house to shake and doors to open.
“That was pretty scary,” Jacy Ahmed said, recalling when he told her.
Shortly after, Mohamed Ahmed planned a way home.
In order to leave Sudan, he’s taking an alternate route: A 40-hour bus from Omdurman to Aswan, Egypt; an 11-hour train ride to Cairo, and then a flight to Chicago, which is a three-hour, 40-minute drive from Iowa.
He waited hours for the bus in Omdurman on Sunday and, according to Jacy Ahmed, the ticket prices increased from $500 to $2,000.
“Every time a new bus comes, they raise it,” she said of the ticket prices. “It’s horrible.”
Jacy Ahmed said she couldn’t reach her husband after finding out about the increasing prices, and he didn’t have enough to pay for the ride. But Jacy Ahmed said a stranger miraculously lent him the rest of the money needed to board after explaining to the person who he was.
Minutes before speaking to ABC News on Tuesday, Jacy Ahmed received a text from her husband saying he’s reached Egypt as he continues his long journey home.
When asked what she will do when she first sees her husband again, Jacy Ahmed said she will run and jump at him.
“He’s 6-foot-5,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll cry.”
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