By E.A Anderson
I go survive or I go make am is usually the slang often used before living the shores of Africa, before i begin to write this real life experiences, i met many Africans in diaspora. I had a lot of conversation with many but my main focus on writing this experiences is for those who are in Africa thinking to embark on the same journey which took many of their brothers and sisters lives to withdrew their steps and consider another way to achieve it in life, there is always a saying that not all that glitters are gold.
(Name withheld) was at his 27 years of age before leaving his mother home country Nigeria, to embark on a journey he is ignorant of for greener pasture which is always the headline for the youths, “searching for greener pastures”. He owns a business of his own, a trader based in (name withheld). According to his narratives, it seems that most of the youths who left their country to try else where, did so as a result of bad economy but in his case it wasn’t so, he said he was deceived into believing that he can trade in Europe. Reaching his climax was a different ball game, what they told him is not what he saw, it was nightmare according to him. From the beginning he had to sell off his store to raise money to pay for visa to Turkey from where he will locate to Western Europe, he was so much in bitter that he had to go for borrow in other to raise more money for the agents who purchased his travelling document to Turkey.
If there is a way i could change back the hands of time i would do so to go back to my basis and correct the mistake but now it’s too late, i had to face it as he speaks. He begins: When i left i imagined life to be like in the movies, i was relaxed on flight smiling up in the air i have left misery. The moment our flight touch down the soil of Istanbul, the atmosphere was wet and the language began to be my headache, at the port of entry i experienced what i have never experienced in my life before, “prejudice”.
Entering Istanbul relieve me a little after the tall walled fence of interrogation, but what i begin to face was worse than those immigration officers and these was coming from fellow Nigerians who will deceive people and take their money, not only me other Nigerians too. In Turkey they call them; “connection man” they will arrange and put us in a bus to Izmir to board a wooden boat to Greece, but they will tell us that it is a big cruise ship. They lied to us that there is no control, is just your ticket the controls need and once you are in Izmir you are already in Greece, is only a stone throw across the sea, but we were caught and detained.
LIFE IN ISTANBUL>>>>> The experience here is everyday in panic of walking in the street of Talabache poles apart from Taksim square. Many Africans here are waiting for connection to Greece, most of them don’t have money, they don’t eat well. There is a popular food they eat which as a result of no money called “banku” and a stew to eat it, with a connection meat.
CROSSING TO GREECE>>>>> He said; We are packed like sardines in a small wooden boat or canoe, some followed through Erdine which is the walking journey to greece and dangerous too. Most times the connection will leave them halfway to continue the journey on their own and the outcome is very disastrous because none of this pedestrian travellers know the route they are going and will end up advancing to Bulgaria where they will be caught by military men who will detain them.
3 MONTHS IN DATCHA>>>>> We were detained outside the town and no amount of noise we make could be heard, we are fed three times a day. At the completion of three months we were released to Athens with a white paper. Getting to Athens, we face a problem of no paper to work. Many fed from the streets, and there is always control by the police for papers.
One thing with most of the people home is that when they are told about the experiences of those who went to Europe, what they are facing they pay a deaf ear to it and probably refer to anyone trying to enlighten them to be an enemy of progress. Through the media some are seen at the shores of mediterranean dead and it’s even heard that some are taken to slavery without their people knowing where they are in Libya, a lot has been told through the media, still such illegal migration of going through a rough path in the name of making it to Europe.
Most of this illegal migrants are daft and ignorant>>> they believe europe is a land flowing with milk and honey, a place where money grew on the garden of a white man, one who is considering to travel out and reside where he/she went to must have a reason or an assignment to do or work, may be a student. Fact speaking, there are places displaced due to political instability and chaos, these ones are running to save their lives, there are illegal migrants who risked to travel for the reason of quick money, recently three Nigerians were caught on a cargo ship in Ghana, they boarded the ship thinking it’s travelling to Europe unfortunately they found themselves in Ghana.
Many has been deceived into going to Europe believing that things will get better once they arrived, young girls has been misinformed. Europe sounds like the last resort to end poverty in the mind of the youth, some end up not finishing their education before embarking on a dangerous journey which might take them months to reach Europe, and the fortunate ones who flew from Nigeria to Turkey embarked on the same selfish journey to go Europe.
One thought or question that needs answer is this: Does Europe welcome you illegally? Embrace you and give you life of equality, anything goes? I don’t think so, in France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany a lot are heard and seen even in social media, facebook, instagram and big media platforms, no bed of roses awaits them. To some, the last resort to end poverty took their lives and wasted years.
There is prejudice in the streets, and eventually when one found a job they also face prejudice from workmate, in the area which they live; and it’s common, this thing called prejudice is a hit facing Africa immigrants both legal and illegal.
page 3 to be continued>>>>>