My Island: Part One.

by | Jul 18, 2023 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

My name is Fallubah and I live on an island. Not one surrounded by sea, nor in the middle of a lake. No, my island is surrounded by traffic. Cars, buses, taxis and lorries circle us day and night like a siege army.

This is my temporary home, one of many I have had in the last three years. The island, or what you would call a roundabout lies in the centre of Sfax. Where is Sfax? I hear you ask, and I will tell you. It is the second-largest city in Tunisia. Where is Tunisia? I hear some of you ask, and I will tell you. It is a small country in North Africa in the embrace of cousins Libya and Algeria. It protrudes into the Mediterranean Sea like jam from a sandwich, which is its attraction to the likes of me. Apart from Ceuta in Morocco to Algeciras in Spain, Sfax is the nearest point in Africa, to Europe.

Europe is where we all want to be. Who are we? We are many. Men, women, and children who have been persecuted and forsaken by their mother countries for various reasons. I was born in Sierra Leone, at an unfortunate time for that country. Not that there has ever been a fortunate time in its brief existence. Sometimes I think that it was cursed when the British created it, to repatriate slaves they had stolen from West Africa.

Life is far from pleasant, living on my island. The temperature is forty degrees and there are fourteen trees under which to shelter from the sun. Needless to say, there is huge demand for such shaded spots. In addition to our daily discomfort, we are harassed by police during the day , and local Arab men at night. They both object to our presence in their city.

For personal safety reasons, we travel in groups when looking for work, food and water. This works to our disadvantage as we are accused of forming gangs. Again, we are attacked and tormented by locals who see us as a threat. Paradoxically, the only folks who befriend us are charity workers and those after our savings. The latter promise us safe passage to Italy and onward into Europe, including Germany and the UK.

This is my story. A Tale of sacrifice, struggle, suffering and abuse; all in the hope of a chance to work for a living in a place where we can be welcomed for who we are and not someone’s preconceived idea of what we are not.

I was born in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone in March nineteen eighty-eight, three years before the start of the Civil War, which lasted until I was thirteen, and took three of my uncles and my oldest brother. I lived with my mother and sisters and was lucky enough to attend school, thanks to a scholarship my Father had paid for before being killed by Government soldiers. I then worked in the kitchen of a restaurant in Fourah Bay, while studying for my Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering.

My dream job came in the spring of two thousand and fourteen at the Highways department of Freetown City council. In October of that year, my Mother and sisters succumbed to the Ebola virus. That was when I decided to leave this God-forsaken country. The family home was mine and every snake and rodent came out of the undergrowth to help me part with it.

2 Comments

  1. kenchildse3dc1bd91f

    Wow I like this see how it goes.

    Reply

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