I decided to start this new journal with a tale dear to me. It’s the story of an Nigerian young man that I met couple of months ago (at the time of writing) in the Refugee camp in Samos (Greece).
Due to privacy reason I had to keep some of the most personal details out of it, even though some of them might be important to the story.
Just imagine them as dramatics events that forced him to
leave his relative’s house when he was just 7 years old.
Another brief premise is that being homosexual in Nigeria can lead to life imprisonment or a death sentence, if caught by the authorities. However, police is just one of the many problems a gay person faces when walking the streets of Nigeria. Even your friends, family, coworkers or your neighbors can make your life hell, by constantly blackmailing or threatening you.
What follows is the summary of couple hours long interview.

Everyone’s story begins with a mother and a father, but not everyone have the gift of seeing them aging and eventually becoming grandmother and grandfather. This is how his story began, by losing his father and his mother at the age of 6.
The first time I heard his whole story I had the impression to be sitting in a room with a 40-50 years old man, but he was close to turn just 20, even though the Greek authorities mistakenly registered him as a 39 years old Nigerian.
At the end of his story, I got the feeling that his life journey was like a burning match consumed too quickly, a journey studded with experiences that were never intended for a young boy nor other human being, because too miserable and harsh. Nevertheless, he still managed to cope with and get through them, putting hatred and anger aside.
At the age of 7, he discovered to be homosexual in a country where loving someone will have you walking in the death row or, maybe worse, devouring your whole life in prison.

Other family tragedies forced him to flee his home (and drop school when he was 7) and seek shelter in a welding shop, where he met someone that accepted and loved him. He became a skilled professional welder, a trade well rewarded in some countries, but not in Nigeria, where you can barley make 1 or 2 euro per day. As he said, “[...]enough to make a big soup for a few days. But that’s good, I didn’t need much more. Just to walk the street safely while being myself ”.
When he was 17, an accident happened and the police got to discover about his homosexuality. Hence, he was forced to leave, not just his home, but his own country. From there, guided by fear and the urge to find a safe place, he got deceived in trusting and following a person that turned out to be a human trafficker who sold him to a dangerous criminal in Turkey. After being beaten up various times, he eventually managed to escape and reach Samos. “Here I am ok. Yes, I live in a shelter made of pallet wood and tarps. No running cold or hot water, I have to fight with rats and sleep with two jackets because winter it’s cold. But I am safe from all that ”.
After what he has been through and the ugly living conditions he is facing, he is still proactive towards life. He decided to learn how to read and write in English, as he never had the chance to, and to speak Greek, in order to find a job in this new country. He is ready for anything “but with a contract because I want to pay taxes to pay back who allowed me to find safety, so I can start to build my life back… and after this if I will have some money left, I want to help whoever will be in the same situation I am now ”.
It would be just easier to surrender to the sadness and the anger. I have seen spirts shattering for much less, but no, piece by piece he is fighting to mend his soul back together, day after day.
Lighting up a few candles to warm up the little room
Lighting up a few candles to warm up the little room
Preparing a small fire to cook
Preparing a small fire to cook
Drawing some sketches of a steel welded gate
Drawing some sketches of a steel welded gate
Details
Details
Explaining how to weld a handrail
Explaining how to weld a handrail
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