Videomessage from Sekous famliy see below
With his sense of duty and discipline you might think that Sekou could have established himself in his own country, Mali. However, the financial difficulties of his family, the lack of infrastructure and Sekous ambitions forced him to leave his country.
Even though Sekou’s father wasa tailor who had to feed two wives and a house full of children on a low salary, he managed to pay for Sekou’s studies. After two years at university, he was forced to leave because his family could not continue to pay for his education. That was it. Sekou’s dream of becoming an engineer was over. Sekou accepted his fate and got a job as math teacher in a primary school. When he was sent to work in a school in a remote village, Sekou could not stand it anymore. How should he, a young dynamic man full of ambition, survive in a village far from anything that made life interesting, far from any hopes for change? Sekou took a decision against a secure and stable life and opted for a risky change. With his salary as a teacher he bought a ticket to take a bus to Morocco. That was the beginning of his adventure.
Leap in the dark
Just few months later he came to regret this decision. The road towards his new life, the road to Europe, was much harder than expected. The gates of “Fortress Europe” were well protected. He travelled around in Morocco, looking for a way to get into Europe. He stayed for months in the forests around Ceuta, slept in a hole in the ground and had to eat garbage when he ran out of money. The memories of his secure life at home in Mali made him cry. However, this feeling of remorse did not help. There was no way of going back. He had left his job and family; he had made a decision.
With the analytic precision of a math teacher he started to observe the fence around Ceuta, studied the change of police watches every day, got to know the soft spots in the system of control. It took him eleven tries to slip past the fence, but in the end he succeeded.
Wide of the mark
Endurance, discipline and willpower. Sekou’s virtues helped him to get to Ceuta – the “waiting room” of Europe. He learned to speak Spanish, helped out as a volunteer in the Red Cross and made friends who backed him with emotional support. This, which from an official point of view was exemplary behavior, was worthwhile. As some immigrants in Ceuta caused unrest to demonstrate for better living conditions, tensions between the immigrants in the C.E.T.I. rose. The protesters put pressure on those who did not want to demonstrate. To relax the situation, some of those who had remained calm were allowed to leave for mainland Spain. Sekou was among them.
The waiting continues
However, even after leaving Ceuta, waiting continues for Sekou . He was brought to a residential home for male immigrants in Lorca in Southern Spain. But his chances of finding a job in Spain, (suffering enormously from the economic crisis) are meagre. After his father passed away, the pressure is building on Sekou to provide for his family.
But until today Sekou shies away from working illegally. He still feels the burden of not having come to Europe legally and does not want to go on living in the state of illegality. The sincere young man has not given up hope he willachieve regular status in Spain. Whether this hope is to be fulfilled, or, like many of his dreams, is to be crushed, is written in the stars.
In february 2011 I went to Mali to see Sekous family. They send them this video message: