“We spent five days in the desert, five days without water, without food. In the desert, there is the sun during the day as well as during the night. It is as if you were dying without knowing why, and finally this death never happens. So, in that moment you think of God, you think that He is the one who keeps the migrants.”
Iréne told us a part of her migratory journey to Morocco. She addressed the difficulties experienced in the middle of the desert and incessant suffering that migrants go through every day.
“My life in Morocco was difficult. My family lives in a complicated poverty situation and I never managed to find a job to help them. I didn’t even manage to continue my studies, since the conditions didn’t allow it. I suffered a lot to get to Spain, I was mistreated by the police in Melilla, I lived on the street, I was scavenging for food, and I had no access to health care. During the journey, I witnessed two friends die before my eyes. Now that I am here, I live in constant fear of being arrested by the police as soon as I am undocumented. I want to be regularised, I want to find a job and help my family in Morocco.”
Hassan shared with us his journey to Europe and told us about the difficult moments he experienced in the city of Melilla.
“I come from the Ivory Coast. I came to Morocco by road. Back home, I was doing business and hairdressing, but it wasn’t enough. I decided to go on an adventure to have a better life. The period in which I left coincided with the war. We went through Mali by bus, and when we arrived in Mauritania, we finished the journey by truck. Once we arrived in Casa, I started working for a Moroccan woman, but it was difficult. When she was in a good mood, it was fine, but when she was in a bad mood, it was bad. She allowed me to take one shower a week in the public hammam. At home, it was not possible, it was unbearable. For these reasons, I decided to leave for Khouribga. Here, people are begging because there is no work. I feel obliged to beg as well.”
“I went through six countries to get to Morocco and in each country, it was hell. The heat in the desert was unbearable, it was sixty degrees and there were people who died because of hunger and thirst, the climate and scorpion stings. We got lost in the middle of the desert, because we didn’t know the way. Even the water we had with us was undrinkable, it was so warm. I was beaten until my bones were broken on the way.”
Alain, Congolese, Tangier, March 2021
“When I arrived in Spain, I suffered a lot. It was the first time I was arrested and imprisoned in a room. I was afraid of closed spaces. There was nobody who understood me, nobody who helped me. When I asked for help, they would say “shhhhhhht”. It was like being a prisoner., the first time I felt like I had committed a crime.”
Ayoub was 17 years old when he migrated irregularly to Spain. The suffering and difficulties experienced during his journey made him regret leaving in such a way.
Aghbala, May 2021
Hélène talks about the reasons why she left her country, the sorrow she experienced during her migration journey from Cameroon to Morocco, and the difficulties she encountered.
“My name is Hélène, I am from Cameroon and I am a mother of three children who are still there. I left Cameroon because I wanted to run away from my husband who beat me, threatened me, and no longer allowed me to see my children. One day, a friend from my childhood suggested me to leave Cameroon, because as long as I was there, he would have kept harming me. She told me to hit the road, as she had done to reach Spain. At that moment, I started to save money and to inquire about the trip. The trip was my only hope because even if I stayed with my family, he would have found me and killed me. One day, after saving 50,000 francs, I decided to step into the unknown, without actually knowing where I was going. Once I arrived in Nigeria I found other compatriots. There, I found women who were in the same situation I was in and I started working with them. According to what people said, if I went to Algeria I could work and earn more. Therefore, I left Nigeria and took the road to Algeria. Once we reached Niger, we took motorcycles that took us into the desert for five or six kilometres. Once in the desert, there were trucks that brought us to Tamanrasset, the first Algerian town we passed through. When we got there, they took us to a small room, where there were more than 30 of us, women, children and men. The night after, the police came and took us all to a refugee camp in Assamaka, a small town in the desert, in the region of Agadez, which is in the northwest of Niger, near the border with Algeria. They asked us to sign the expulsion to return to our countries, and if we refused, we had to stay in the camp. Fortunately, the man who brought us to Algeria knew my problem and promised to help me. He sent us people with a car to guide us to his home in Tamanrasset, Algeria. I stayed there for two months and then we had to hit the road, directed to Oran, and it was not easy at all. We had to walk because there were many checkpoints. Over there, if the police caught you, they would have sent you directly to Assamaka. It meant being beaten, it was horrible. We were hiding all the time, unable to get out of the houses. I could not stay there, so I decided to hit the road again, with the help of my aunt who paid a guy to guide me to Morocco. Once I joined the convoy, we took the train and then we walked for two days in the forest, day and night. When we saw the police, we hid. That is how we arrived in Oujda. Afterward, I took the bus directly to my aunt’s place in Marrakech. At her place, there were several people. She introduced me to one of her daughters who had a hair salon and who hired me to work with her. Thus, I managed to rent a room. Unfortunately, because of the sanitary crisis, my boss did not have enough money to pay us anymore, so I had to go back home with my aunt. It hurts so much because I am here and I do not know how to get out of it. I miss my sons a lot, I would love to hear at least their voices. I have no papers, I have absolutely nothing. “