23 years old, Gambia

12 September 2023

“It has been six or seven months since I left Gambia. From my country, I went to Mali, then Algeria, Libya, and then came back to Algeria, and then Tunisia.

I spent two months in Libya. I was working there [as a mason], and it wasn't easy. Because when you finish the work, they don't pay you. For one month and two weeks, I worked with a man, and he liked my job. However, after the job was done, I asked about my money, because I wanted to go. And I asked him again a week later. He put me in his car, and we started driving to the Sahara. Then he took out a gun, showed it to me, and said: "If you ask me for money again, I will shoot you. So now you choose: do you want your money, or do you want to die?" I told him to leave me, and I will go away.

After that, I came back to the Algeria - Tunisia border, and I walked for six days to reach Sfax. Along the way, I asked some people to let me call my friends to send me money, but they said “no”, as it is a problem for them to let black people call from their phones.

"Why black people come to Tunisia?" asked a man in a village, when I was begging for bread, as I didn't have any money then. “You don't have to come to Tunisia. Tunisia is not a place for you African people”, he continued.

I experienced problem in Tunisia with the police. I still have pain in my shoulder because of that. And not only the police - when you are black, and sleeping next to the road, the mafia can come also, and collect your phone. Even if you have only one dinar [local currency], they will collect it. If you have good things, they will take it. I witnessed that. In Kasserine, I saw many mafia and they robbed me.

I experienced problem in Tunisia with the police. I still have pain in my shoulder because of that.

Once, a man gave me ten dinars in a village because he felt "pain" for me. He told me to go and buy something to eat, but not to sit here, as if the police would come, that would be a problem for him. For Arab people, something that costs 100 dinars, for black people is 200 dinars. If the bread is 10 dinars for Arabs, for black people it is 15 dinars.

Later, I saw a police motorbike. The policeman saw me and tried to catch me. I run to the bush. If they catch you, they will throw you in the Sahara. They will not take you to a prison. Then you will have to walk back again, without food or water.”