Journey To Italy- Untold Stories Of A Returnee (4)

DURKU! that’s what she called the place. It’s a small village from where we were to board a jeep that will take us across the border into Libya.

After raping us all, madam UC pleaded with the leader to drop us at durku. He refused at first, they even left. She had began to sob when they suddenly pulled up beside us again. “Na because say you corporate oooo, but Na only three persons we fit carry, unless one person go enter booth” he announced.
I’ve never seen madam UC that grateful. She knelt countlessly in appreciation, later, she took IJ aside. After some minutes they returned and she told him that I J has agreed to manage the booth.

The car gave no problem this time around, it kept speeding while they kept arguing on football. I kept imagining how IJ must be feeling.

When we got to Durku, reality dawned on us, it was impossible for us to board a jeep. All our cash and valuables were gone, courtesy of our helpers who raped us. She had us wait inside one abandoned hut while she kept moving around asking everyone for help. She kept returning with bad news. It’s either she muttered “No show”, “dem no gree” or “I’m fed up” whenever she returned. By the second day we had no choice but to drink from the stagnant water in front of the hut. You just go there, bend down and sip it, come back in and sit back down on the ground with your back against the wall. We had gotten too hungry and tired to gist, all we did was think, drink the dirty water and sleep. At a point my sister, madam UC and ij began vomiting. I could not afford to expend energy on crying. We remained that way till one morning (the third day). Two men walked into the hut and summoned madam UC outside. We could see her kneeling and pleading with them but we didn’t know what she was pleading for this time around. We kept watching the scene with questions running through our minds – were we in trouble? Are we getting raped again? Will they help us? etc
After some time they left, she came back inside then said, “Dem say they go fit carry only me go so I got fit cross go bring money then come back come carry una. I beg them make una follow me say I go pay once we enter Libya but dm no gree. We no get choice, una go wait for me make I go then come back come carry una”

“When will you return? ” I inquired. She promised to return the next day, IJ asked her why she couldn’t return that same day, she informed us that it was a four hour journey and that when she gets there, she will have to wait till it’s dark before she could cross- to avoid being caught by the immigration officers. She told us that it was all going to be over in no time. Advised us to remain indoors and calm just as we’ve been, then left. I moved closer to my sister and cuddled her in tears.

The sun set and rose, it was the D-day. She should be back today. We took turns in stepping outside the hut to look out for her. We gisted a little that day because the hope gave us energy. By dusk one of the two men arrived. We all stood up at the sight of him, we were anticipating a let’s go from him, instead he informed us that madam UC was caught by the border patrol yesterday and had been thrown into jail. My sister collapsed before he could finish talking, ij and the other one broke down in tears while I got busy sprinkling water on her face to wake her. To my amazement, the man took off.

After I awoke her, I asked them a rhetorical question, what do we do? After a while IJ stood up and announced that she was going to beg for food and seek help, then she left.
“This is it!” I said to myself, “it’s better we follow her oooo! ” I told my sister who reminded me of the danger. “Should we now sit here and die?”

To be continued
By Ade Richards

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