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“We, as soldiers, we go to the war, we try – either you manage to get to Spain or you fail and die.” A male migrant from Senegal

Try and Try Again

“Since I was [have been] in Morocco, I tried three times [to reach Europe], from Nador, Tangiers and Layounne. The first time a friend called me to reach him in Nador. When I got there, each person gave 1000 dirham (100 euros) and we bought a zodiac from Moroccans. A zodiac is a small boat, like an air chamber. We bought a GPS. When we got there, we went to the bush to look around. We left at night, it was difficult because there were many waves.”

Sea Crossing Leaders

“Before leaving we made a coalition [group] of seven people. Between us there was a Senegalese who knows the sea, because in Senegal there are people who used to be fishermen, called “mole” in Wolof. This person is the guide, he knows and leads everything. We [the others] don’t know nothing of the sea. The one who guided the dinghy into the sea, used to work with us in Marrakech, before. It is also with him that we tried later to reach Ceuta. It’s like a gang, if you do something together and then you fail, after you say “now we will work for two months to gain some money to arrange another combat [fight].”

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“Combat” to Cross the Sea

“The venture is called “combat”. It’s like the “bango” [in Wolof]. Bango is military training, it’s a male business. There are people who are men, but they have the heart of a woman. When you say to them, “we will go to Spain,” they tell you, “No, I will die.” But we, as military, we go to the war, we go, we try, we manage to get to Spain, or you fail and you die.”

Persevering

“After many kilometers before getting to Spain, the Moroccan navy came after us. They took the zodiac, they destroyed it and freed us. We were seven: Senegalese, Malians, and Cameroonians. Now [without] the zodiac it’s over for me. I’ll get a [new] plan, sit down, and tighten my belt. You drink some coffee, you’re ok.

October 2016 – Documented by MHub Data Focal Point in Marrakesh, Morocco

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