25 years old and from Guinea.
To reach Lampedusa he crossed five countries: Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and the most dangerous of all, Libya.
His brother was beaten to death in his village. He left for his own protection. By leaving, he says, “I rescued my life.” He left behind three younger sisters and his mom. His trip took eight months to complete.
In Niger he worked to earn money for his passage. A woman there wanted to help him after hearing his story and gave him money. When he got to Libya though, his was kidnapped and held captive for a month. His captors took his money and kept him in jail until he called home to have more money sent for his release. Amadou had nobody to call.
He escaped with a group of others. Guards were shooting at them as they ran. Some fell down when they were shot and didn’t make it. When he arrived in Tripoli he worked there for four months.
But work in Tripoli with this particular “employer” was basically a kidnapping. Workers were severely mistreated; the owner broke the legs of some of his friends. Sometimes Amadou was fed, some days he was not. Instead of paying him money, his employer paid for his boat trip. This, I am finding, is a common occurrence.
He crossed the Mediterranean Sea at 9:00pm in a rubber dinghy with 147 people. He did not remember if there were women on board, but there were kids and babies. He was on the sea for nine hours before he was rescued, he thinks, by a German boat, who later transferred him to the Guardia Costiera (the Italian Coast Guard).
I asked him where he hoped to go after he left Lampedusa: “Anywhere my life is safe, where I have my peace; I want to go there.”
He has worked as an orange and mango farmer. He likes agricultural work very much.
Amadou is an amazing human being.