Leaving Africa is not easy

In a time when all Italians, and maybe Europeans too, seems to be enraged against all immigrant, we found on Flickr a photo that explains what does it mean to leave for west Africa.

Here you can read the story of Solomon Audu.

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Solomon Audú’s odyssey from Liberia to Spain begins in 1993.

9 at the time, he was obliged to leave his village, near the coastal town of Buchanan, after having served as a rebel soldier in the civil war since the age of 5 and after witnessing the death of both of his parents at the hands of government soldiers.

His upper left arm bears noticeable scars from the bullet wounds he sustained as a child veteran. Spending long periods in Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Algeria and Morocco, crossing mountains, coastal regions, cities, forests, and desert, he paid his way by working as a street merchant and interpreter between English and Hausa.

For two years he lived rough in the mountains outside Melilla, waiting for the opportunity successfully to climb the double fence separating Morocco and the Spanish enclave, using a pair of homemade ladders.

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He finally landed in Almería in December 2003 and immediately headed north, arriving in Bilbao early in 2004.

Once there, he was provided with food, accommodation, and an allowance by the Red Cross, who also arranged for Solomon to go to school for the first time, where he is learning Spanish, the only language he is able to write, and Euskera, even though he is fluent in Hausa and his eloquence in English is impressive.

Such are his powers of description that he is regularly invited to speak in English about his experiences at schools and universities, with the help of interpreters in Euskera and Spanish.

The Red Cross has also sponsored his enrolment in a two-year training course in welding and construction skills. Solomon is also employed by Zutalur, an NGO based in Bilbao.

Though granted Spanish residence papers in 2005 he is also in the process of obtaining a Liberian passport, the first passport of his life.

This, he believes, would provide him with means of realising his dream of emigrating to the U.S. as a descendant of the freed African-American slaves who founded Liberia.

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