“My name is Kaiji. I’m both from Ethiopia and Erytrea. I couldn’t stay in Ethiopia after my father died, and I couldn’t stay in Eritrea either because of my religion. I’m a Pentecostal (protestant), and since I’m not Orthodox or Muslim, I was in serious danger. I left home with my wife and went across the Sahara desert in the back of a truck with 75 other refugees during 2 weeks. We couldn’t move and the driver only gave us a small piece of chocolate a tiny bit of water each day. At the border between Sudan and Libya, the Libyans took all our money, jewelry and sometimes even our clothes. Many women were raped. When we got to Tripoli we were locked inside a sort of prison with 150 other people. It was hell, it stank, there were no windows and we were there for 5 weeks. I managed to call my family and they sent some money over to free my wife and I. Then we took a small boat that took us to Lampedusa, a small Italian island. From there we were sent to continental Italy, and the authorities put us in a camp in Bari. There was no work there and nothing to do. We escaped and took several trains all the way up to Northern France. We hid in the toilets to avoid the controllers.
A week ago my wife managed to get to England. I helped her climb on the top of a freight train; she stood on my shoulders and managed to climb up. Unfortunately there was no one to help me climb so I told her I would meet her there. She called me when she got to the other side of the tunnel. She’s now in London waiting for me, and people are taking care of her. I need to go and join her, she’s 4 months pregnant and I really want to be there for the birth of my first child.
You want me to choose just one word? Hmmmm… “FAITH”.”
“Mercy” was the word that Hermes (15 years old) wanted us to paint on his house, in the slum of Lideta, Addis Ababa.
Sissay chose the word “Ethiopia” written in the local Amharic scrpit. It’s always a good challenge to paint in new scrpits !
Letter by letter: Outsiders
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