“I was working as an electrician in my country, Ghana, but could not afford to own my own business, as I had always dreamed of. I decided to go to Libya in 2010, traveling through Togo and Niger.
We spent 11 days travelling through the desert with very little food and water. I would pour some petrol in the water to keep myself from drinking it all at one go. We encountered armed robbers along the way who would make you strip to make sure you had given them all your money. To hide my money, I had to insert it into my anus.
This is what we called the “West African bank”. It was the only option we were left with. But at the same time, if the robbers didn’t get any money from you, they could kill you so we always had some little money to give to them.
Along the route we saw human remains – people who were either too weak or sick or abandoned by their smuggler, just left there, without a proper burial.
Once in Libya, I worked in the construction field as a mason. I immediately began to see improvements in my life. I was able to send money to my family. Overall, I was living a more comfortable life. But because of the situation in Libya, it was unsafe and I had no choice but to return to Ghana after nine months. If it weren’t for the Arab Spring happening in the region back then, I would have stayed.
Today, I own a phone credit store. I am providing all I can to my family including my three brothers and sister. I am saving money to open up the electrical shop that I once dreamed of having. I’m hopeful about the future. The one thing I’ve learned through all of this is that - money is important but life is precious."