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H&H interview: Refugee Abdul Musa Adam on turning to horses *H&H Plus*

The Sudanese refugee has survived war, extermination of his village and torture, and is rebuilding his life as a stable lad at one of the top Flat racing yards in England. Eleanor Jones tracks his journey from Darfur to Berkshire

For years, Abdul Musa Adam was afraid to sleep.

In his dreams, he would see, over and over again, the burning of his home. The bodies of his family, strangers’ bodies black with flies on city streets. His torturers in a Libyan prison. Then the dreams came during his waking hours.

“When I work with horses, it gets better,” says Abdul, who now works for trainer Andrew Balding. “Horses give me a connection to my family, and a way back to the person I was.”

Abdul was born nearly 3,000 miles away from Kingsclere’s green hills near Newbury, in a tent in Darfur, a region of western Sudan. His parents were nomads, of the Zaghawa tribe, moving their herds according to the grazing and the water.

His early memories are of beautiful bright dresses, fresh mangoes and guava after the rains, skies full of countless stars, grass so green “it hurt your eyes”. Abdul’s grandfather, a sheikh, told the children of men and women with white skin, but they were not sure whether they believed him.