Native country: Gambia
Family: Mother, 2 older sisters. Father dead because of sickness.
Date of landing: January 2015 - Augusta (RG - Sicily)
I had nothing in Gambia.
My mum sells vegetables at the market, but she doesn't make enough money to send me and my sisters at school. Looking at bad conditions we were living, i decided to secretly leave my country: i must help my family.
I'm the man of the house.
The journey to Libya wasn't easy at all. It took around 3-4 months on a big and slow truck full of people, driving through the desert that becomes the land of nobody during the night. In the morning it's extremely hot under the sun, in the night it gets icy cold. We had a bottle of water for all the day and such a mixture of food which makes you easily sated.
Before arriving in Libya we got robbed of everything we had, documents included. It's always like that for all migrants.
I spent 1 year and 2 months there, 4 in the jail. You don't get prisoned for specific crimes committed, but just because they decide it; they keep you until you have enough money to pay the boat for the journey to Italy. Sometimes they let you work for little services like transporting rice or building houses.
Gathering everything i've gained in those months, i was able to pay around 600 libyan dinars (around 400€) to a person which acts as intermediary with Libyans; so i was finally allowed to get on the ship. As far as i know prices are not the same for everybody, but i have no clue why.
That night we were around 150, all men. Before getting on board they made us sit down on the ground in raws of 10, to better count us.
We left in the darkness, around 3am. It was a 2 days journey, and i never closed my eyes: i was thinking about my family.
During the trip we got water inside the boat, so i had all my pants wet and for this reason i was freezing, especially in the night.
Once i arrived in Sicily i quickly called my mum. It was already 1 year and half i didn't hear her voice. She was surprised to get a call from me, she was sure i was dead since a while.
She always adviced me to pray, so one day God will help us. But i'm the head of the family, i cannot wait anymore. I must take care of my mum and my sisters.
One day i will have a job and i will be able to feed my family. Doesn't matter where: we will be all together, finally happy. But i cannot live well alone, leaving my family in a critical situation.
You know, it's not easy.