Photo: Eden Oulatar Thomas
“IT WAS SLAVERY”
“I am Mahamadou, from the village of Ngarangou in Burkina Faso. I came to Faya in search of work, after a friend, who lied to me, said I could easily find it in Chad.
I was a docker in my country when I told myself, why not try a new adventure? That is when I decided to leave for Europe. Initially, I tried going to Cameroon and after Gabon, but it was not successful. So I returned home and sold my land for 700,000 FCFA and set out for Niger to reach Libya.
I spent 5 years in Libya, where I discovered hell on earth. I was tortured and I lost half of my teeth. I could no longer continue to Europe. Yet, I learned a new trade, masonry, during my time there working on construction sites. While I was working on a site, I met a Chadian who told me he had an uncle who was looking for workers to construct a villa. So along with some others, I set out for Faya. To our surprise, it was not what we hoped for; it was pure slavery and very difficult.
We finished the villa, but the owner refused to pay us and said we had to build another before being paid. We informed the police, but no one helped. Faced with the situation, we knew we could not do anything and accepted it. All I want is to go back home and start a new life, even if all I have to show for this journey is a new skill, I can get my life back with that.”
This story is part of the "Beyond the Headlines: an Overview of Migration in Chad" publication.