A: Age 20, at Via Cupa

A: Age 20, at Via Cupa


I arrived in Sicily two weeks ago.  Then I came here to Via Cupa.

From Eritrea I had gone to Ethiopia, where I stayed in the Hitsats refugee camp for a week.  Then I went to Sudan. I could have stayed in Sudan and worked, but I had heard that if you worked you might not get paid, and people would steal your money, and eventually you might get arrested and have to bribe your way out of prison. So I went to Libya, to get to Europe.  I went with a friend, but he is still kept captive by the smugglers there.  In Libya, torture was normal.  We would be beaten just for moving the wrong way, or for standing up to stretch.  Or people would be beaten with irons if they didn’t produce their smuggling fees when due. I saw two or three people shot to death, and several others die from hunger or thirst.  Women were raped routinely.  I survived only because I’m an Eritrean — we’re used to privation.

From Libya, I was afloat in a small boat for nine hours before I was rescued by the German navy. Before the rescue I was terrified of drowning.

At Hitsats we had been warned of the risks in Libya and on the Mediterranean.  So before I set out from Sudan, I knew I would suffer — but not nearly as much as I actually did.  Now I would advise my friends in Eritrea to stay in Eritrea, despite the suffering there.  It would be better to have a normal grave, in the land of your parents.