Migration is difficult in general. But when you actually experience the journey for yourself it feels even more difficult. Here below is my experience of the journey.
We were told [by the smugglers] that we would only use cars to travel from Ethiopia to Sudan. But we ended up walking for about thirteen hours. Not only that, we also encountered bandits. The first bandits we met were at the Ethiopian border, and they were Ethiopians. They threatened us and took our money and mobile phones, while the smugglers left us and ran. Since we were many in number we threw stones at the bandits, and they soon left.
After traveling a while, we again encountered bandits— this time from Sudan. They were the worst. They threatened us with knives and sticks, and took all our money and belongings. We [men and women] were physically searched, even in our private parts.
When we later asked [friends] about their journey, it turned out ours had been better. We heard that on their journey [the bandits] had even raped women and sent them back to Ethiopia.
As we left Sudan and entered into Libya we were searched [by border control]. Then our truck broke down, and we were squeezed into other trucks where two refugees fainted because there wasn’t enough space. But thank God no one died. Our friends told us there were some who had died on their trip.
The most difficult part of the journey was when we were traveling inside Libya, headed for Tripoli. We were in a container and there wasn’t enough space. One of the drivers started threatening us with a gun because we had crosses and were Christians. Even though he wasn’t driving the car I was in, he came and threatened everyone wearing crosses. In fact, he burned one of the refugees who had a cross tattoo on his hand. He even threatened to take them to ISIS.
Hunger, beatings, and getting squeezed into a small place were relatively easy problems that we faced. Others have been exposed to severe torture, kidnappings, or have even been asked to pay for their journey again. Some get caught by ISIS.
So I would like my [friends] to know that there are such problems. When you say the word “problem,” or “challenge,” it might not seem that bad, but in reality it is difficult. Even the sea journey isn’t easy. It’s more accurate to say we traveled in boats rather than ships. There were some boats that sank.