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New Book > Let's discuss my new book "The Irregular Migrant:

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message 1: by Peterson (new)

Peterson Ojieson | 2 comments Rejigged and remixed, go get a copy.

A snippet into my book :

The year was 1999, and I had just turned 21, dropped out of college and decided to migrate for economic reason from my home state in Nigeria.

Without the usual requisites nor sufficient finance to go legal by obtaining a visa and flying, I'd opted to travel by land through the deserts and seas onwards Spain via Morocco.

There was, however, a snag as all I had was a map and a sketch of how and where to change vehicles at specific towns in each country I'd be journeying through.

Fortunately, on the night I was to board the check out bus from my small town of Benin City, Nigeria, en route Katsina State, bordering Nigeria and the Niger Republic, half the passengers on the bus turned out to be making the same journey, so we all naturally gelled and formed a group going forward.

We arrived at the border town the next morning and got smuggled into a vehicle that took us further into the Niger Republic specifically to a town called Agadez.

We did a couple of more days there until we got the next connection to smuggle us through the Sahara desert into a town (Tamaransett) in Algeria.

Pertinent to state here that the ultimate target of our journey was to hit Morocco from where we could either Climb across the razor fences separating Morocco from either of Spain’s enclave of Ceuta and Mellila, both on mainland Morocco. This would be like crossing from Mexico into the US.

A lot had happened on the travel through the Sahara as we did the journey in three days.

From co-travellers collapsing, having to recycle and drink our urine when we had run out on water, to being outrightly abandoned in the deserts.

Travelling through the deserts we did come upon a couple of human skeletal remains of some unfortunate travellers.

When we finally got into Moroccan territory or the border between Morocco and Algeria in a town called Magniya, this is where every one journeying through that route converge and set up camps in what is obviously a jungle, waiting to make up a certain acceptable number for the smugglers to take us on the journey by foot through the woods, deserts and rocky terrains of Morocco to evade the authorities.

On a good day and with a good guide who knows the route pretty well, this would be 2 weeks or thereabouts journey on foot.

So, on this day my group and I had gotten set to embark on this journey.

We had gotten our standard supplies of baguettes, sardines and milk to survive on, just enough and not too heavy to burden us on the long walk.

We often journeyed only at nights for cover.

On the first night into our long walk, we had successfully covered a couple of km’s, all the while having to abandon some guys and ladies who were already dropping by the wayside and not able to keep up pace due to exhaustion.

At this point, no one really cares if you kept up with the group or not, it was strictly a case of, "you either shipped in or shipped out".

So, we'd continued until I, eventually took a short rest, and afterwards got separated from the group and I knew not what way to continue on without the group and the guide.

Out of frustration,hunger and desperation, I'd decided to come out of the woods in broad day, with not a single scare of the police in the world, as I would have gladly run up to them at this point, if for nothing at all, just to be able to get something to eat, and a place to sleep.

I had resorted to going about, begging for food from some locals, who were so kind enough to render me help-God bless them.

These locals would actually get into trouble with the authorities if it were to become public knowledge that they were harbouring, or failed to report sighting an alien. But these guys would take me in, make me ‘shai’, a Moroccan tea and bread, and then proceed to hide me until nightfall, before pointing me further on how to go, avoiding hot spots and the cops.

So, I'd continued until I got to Nador. This town borders Mellila, one of the Spanish Territories on Moroccan soil.

Meanwhile as a group,our original destination was Rabat, where we usually have a decent population of fellow immigrants on the same journey, and where we could converge and map out the next strategy on how to cross into Spain, either by ferry on a dingy across the Atlantic/Mediterranean, or scaling the razor fences separating either of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta or Melilla.

When I got to Nador, I was lost on how to proceed any further being all by myself.

Mind you, it had been almost 2 weeks since I'd gotten separated from my group, and I hadn't showered all the while, so you could at best imagine what I'd look or smell like.

While thinking about my life and how/where to proceed on, a bike had driven up to me and the rider motioned me to hop on. I was at first hesitant, but when he insisted, I obliged.

He drove me for about 5 kilometres and brought the bike to a halt, and asked me to keep leftwards, and climb a super mountain across, that if I did as he was advising in broken French, Arabic and hand signals, it'd bring me closer to the razor fences separating the town of Nador in Morocco from Melilla in Spain.

I thanked him profusely and started on the journey of climbing the huge mountain.

From my reckoning, I had started ascending this mountain at about past 8 pm when the man had dropped me off, and when I eventually got to the peak of the mountain, where I could now see all around Nador, and also look into the Spanish territory, it must have taken me about 3 hours. I'd become fired up anyway, not minding how battered I was from the long climb, at least I was so close to Spain, I could actually see vehicles driving around.

While I was still basking in the euphoria of my new found luck, and planning on where to attack the Spanish fences from, the heavens had given way, and it started raining cats and dogs with nowhere in sight to take shelter.

I'd dejectedly continued on my solitary walk, with no particular direction until I happened upon a cemetery.

When I had arrived at the cemetery at about 12–1 am, I couldn't hold it in any longer. I simply broke down and cried my hearts out, all the while thinking about my family and friends, and how not one of them knew my whereabouts, nor what I was having to deal with at that point in time, all by myself.

After all, with the rain subsided, I hadn't the will to continue on the walk any further that night, I simply felt and reached for the closest grave to me, which I had slept on while saying a prayer for the soul resting therein.

A pretty tough journey I must confess, and the story of my life as an African irregular migrant.

You can read more in my book here, and leave me great reviews, thanks.

message 2: by Marietta (new)

Marietta Hermosa | 2 comments I couldn’t go any further once I read “just dropped out of college “ in Nigeria?

message 3: by Peterson (new)

Peterson Ojieson | 2 comments Wonderful, hearing this for the first time. You seem to know Nigeria very well, I'm sure you must have heard of the various colleges of education spread around the country. Keep broadening your horizon...okay?

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