Libya Exodus—The Lure of Migration Part 1
I first learnt of the Libyan-route to Europe sometime in the year 2002. I remember how some guys abandoned their undergraduate programmes to seek greener pastures. Funny enough, several of them I knew or heard of at the time were in their finals. I puzzled on what would make them abandon years of academic pursuit at the snap of a finger. I thought to myself, this Libya-route must sure be a good one.
Weeks turned into months, months turned into years and boom! The true colours of the Libya-route became very evident. News started filtering in of how dangerous the route was because the trip was via land through the desert.
There were days we heard shout in the neighbourhood. Women screaming, families wailing or rejoicing. What is the matter? A son or daughter who made the trip to Europe via the Libyan desert was either confirmed dead or those who they longed thought dead and never heard from, arrived home.
On one of such occasions I met with a returnee and had a close gist with him. Excepts of which are summarized in this post.
Me: Bros, how far? Welcome back oooo
Returnee: Irenonsen, na where dem never reach them dey call oyibo land oooo
Me: Really… Bros why you talk so na?
Returnee: If I had knowledge of how the route was like; I would never have abandoned my academic pursuit for the trip.
Me: Bros, pele… Abeg clear me matter. Wetin you really see…
Returnee: From all the agent told me and some other guys, we thought it was going to be so easy only to discover the opposite.
We got to a point on the way and the agents handed us over to some guys that would help us cross the desert and left us. That was the last we either heard from or saw them.
When the guys took us over, they told us “guys this waka na all man to himself ooooo”
As days went by, our food and water supplies completed got exhausted. We had to let go of our bags at some point so we could travel light.
Me: How were you guys now surviving?
Returnee: Irenonsen, I never knew the reasons why many guys we met along the way had girlfriends.
Me: Girlfriend, even in that difficult situation?
Returnee: Yes! I later discovered that one of the reasons was, their girlfriend(s) was their source of drinking water.
Me: Drinking water? How…
Continued in Part 2