“I cannot wait to embrace my wife again.” In order to make this happen, “T.” crossed the sea, risking his life. This is not just a mere manner of speaking; since the beginning of this year alone, over 3000 people have died during a crossing of the Mediterranean.
She is in Sicily, having arrived some months earlier. Now, we are finding a way to put the two in contact, with the help of an organization which handles these types of situations.
Their story seems to be out of a film, but unfortunately, it is not fiction. It is the raw reality for an unknown number of people that travel towards Europe via Libya. The couple left the Ivory Coast, and crossed the desert. They survived on occasional work in Tripoli, and then in Sabratah. The pay was meagre when he arrived, and there was continuous mistreatment. They were imprisoned, but not because they were criminals; rather, they had simply asked their employer if they could be paid. They had mustered up the courage to demand that to which they were entitled, after some months during which their salary never arrived. In the jail cell, they were abused and tortured. The signs of a broken foot, and scars and burns on T.’s skin, remain a living testimony to this. The nightmare ended after two months, when they left prison and went back to hard work. Money was necessary to embark on the journey. They ultimately succeeded in putting some aside. The first part was for her; he would catch up to her later. “And now, I cannot wait to embrace her again,” he repeats, as he speaks his tale to us.
When people learn about migration across the Mediterranean, they sometimes ask, “If the migrants are so poor, where did they get the money for the trip in the first place?” The story of T. illustrates how this question might be answered.