Meet Thierno.


Meet Thierno.

22 years old and from Dakar, Senegal.

I don’t have a picture of Thierno, because he left right away for the soccer pitch at the port, where Guinea v. Senegal was playing. So in place of his photo, I’ve attached some of the game instead.

To reach Lampedusa he crossed six countries: Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Algeria, and the most dangerous of all, Libya.

Thierno’s trip took seven months. He reached Niger in three weeks; he stayed for a pause, then left for Algeria for three months, where he was able to work and save money for the remainder of his voyage.

It took him one week to reach Algeria, and when he finished working there, it took him another two weeks to reach Tripoli, Libya. At this point, an arduous journey became dangerous.

He was captured and held in Libyan prison for one month and two weeks. He was beaten every day. You are given the chance to call for a money transfer for your release in prison there, but if you have no contact you will remain until you 1) pay the ransom, 2) die, or 3) you escape; Thierno escaped. 

Somewhere in the Tripoli city limits Thierno worked for about a month under the wing of a man who helped him eventually reach the coast where he found his boat.

He crossed the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber dinghy with 134 people, including 22 women and two children. His boat left shore at 3:00am on a moonlit night. The raft was so overcrowded he traveled on its edge with one foot dangling in the sea. 

After nine hours he was rescued by a German vessel then transferred to the Guardia Costiera, and finally to the hotspot in Lampedusa. 

Thierno speaks French, so our interview was done with a bilingual friend from the camp, Amadou (his selfie at left), and with a lot of help from Google Translate.

Thierno is the oldest of his siblings and likes to bake. He wants to be a bread baker in London.

Thierno is an amazing human being.