“A few years ago, there was a Boko Haram attack at a market where my parents were doing their grocery shopping. They both died that day; I was 12 at the time. I wasn't even allowed to see their bodies or attend the funeral. The Cameroonian army took me to Yaoundé where an adoptive family me took me in. It was tough growing up without my biological parents or my little sister, who I haven’t seen since that day. Later on, my foster father died as well so I was left with my foster brothers and foster mother.
We didn’t have any money for my education. After I had saved enough, I bought a motorcycle and started working as a driver, but I couldn’t live off of that. My foster mother could barely feed her own children so I couldn’t expect her to be able to feed me as well. I decided to go to Algeria with my 14-year-old foster brother. On our way, as we passed through Nigeria, bandits took away everything we had: my backpack, my clothes, my phone – everything. We were in Algeria for one month. We couldn’t survive there anymore as I didn’t have any money left.
To get back, we walked through the desert for one week straight. It was really hard as I needed to take care of the little one as well. There were 27 of us in the desert, but two died there and others got sick. You go to sleep at night as a group and then in the morning some are missing. We tried hiding from the sun but there is no place to hide in the desert. We had no food, just a bit of water. The older ones helped us with water from time to time. We had our first meal when we arrived at IOM’s transit centre in Arlit.
I don’t know what I will do when I go back. At least my foster brother has his parents, but I don’t have anyone. I know how dangerous it is and I now know it’s not worth the risk, but going to Europe was my biggest dream and I failed at it.”