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Photo credit: IOm/Monica Chiriac

2,253 kmfrom home
"This route is deadly. I wouldn't take it again. I said to myself that my life was more precious than Italy."
Current Country: 
Country of Origin: 
Sierra Leone

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“My dad was 65 when he died. He woke up early every morning to go to work, and since he didn’t have a car, every day was a struggle for him. As he got older, I tried to convince him to stop working.

After I graduated in banking and finance, I tried finding a job in my field in Sierra Leone, but it proved to be impossible. I ended up teaching IT for a while at a school. I told my dad I would go to Europe, find a job and send them money. So I ended up going to Ghana to get a visa for Germany, but once rejected, I had to go back home.

I told my dad I had friends in Ghana and that I wanted to go back to work with them. After a couple of days there, they called to tell me my dad had been taken to the hospital. My stepmom hadn’t told me about his illness so I wouldn’t worry. The day I got to know he was sick was the day I was told he had died.

In Ghana, I met a family that offered me a job. In one year’s time, I had gained their trust so they asked me to move in, and help them take care of the house and their laundry business. I learned a lot from people in Ghana: how to talk, to say please, and to apologize. When I got home, my siblings told me I had changed. I taught them to be polite, and to have manners as well.

When I was in Ghana, I used to watch the news, see all these people crossing the Mediterranean and thought I would never do it. But when I got back to Freetown and found out many of my friends had taken it, I decided to try as well. One friend in Italy encouraged me to do it; he told me I could make it. I thought this was my chance. I paid someone USD 2,500 to get me to Italy. Once the police found me, they put me in prison. I needed another USD 1,000 to go back home.

My biggest regret is taking the route. I had a feeling I shouldn’t have taken it. I lost all the money I had saved during my three years working in Ghana. Plus, the road is so dangerous because you have to go through the desert, there is no water, and there are thieves on the road. People are dying. I wouldn’t try it again. I said to myself that my life was more precious than Italy.

Since both of our parents died, all of my five siblings look up to me. When I was in Ghana, I used to send them money. I miss them all and my three-year-old daughter as well. None of my siblings knew I was going to take this route, except Junior. He is in highschool, studying finance as well. I want to take care of him. My biggest dream is to see them all happy.”

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