The following day, we set out for Ghana.
We were four of us; three teenage girls and Aunty Pamela who was leading us. At the borders, she told the authorities that she was taking us to teach us how to deal on clothes in Accra. They believed her after she gave them some money as bribes.
That was how we got to Ghana and some days later, we Proceeded to Burkina Faso.
It was at Burkina Faso that one of us decided she wasn’t going anywhere again.
She was an Igbo girl from Imo State. I didn’t know how she was recruited but i saw her at Aunty Pamela’s shop when i came to Lagos. She wasn’t a friendly person and as a result, i avoided asking her questions.
She had gotten as far as Burkina Faso and decided she had traveled enough. All efforts by Pamela to get her to continue was in vain.
Pamela was to hand us over to one man who would take us to Libya. Her own mission had ended there in Burkina Faso.
“This man will take you to Tripoli. You will travel to Italy from there. Aunty Philo is waiting for you girls. I am returning to Lagos tomorrow” Aunty Pamela had announced to us.
We were all surprised because we even thought she was leading us to Italy herself.
Those sudden change of plan had triggered a bitter reaction which nearly caused all of some big trouble.
“I am scared and I am not following this stranger. I will follow you back to Lagos tomorrow” Amara had said.
Pamela looked at her. “Why are you scared?”.
“I don’t know” Amara said. “But i can’t follow this stranger to anywhere. This is not what you told my brother in Lagos”.
“If you want to return to Lagos, go ahead but i am not paying for your transport” Pamela had said.
We watched as Amara stood up and left. We all thought she was going to return since she had no money but we never saw her again.
There was no phone and as a result, we couldn’t call her. It dawned on us that she was gone for good when we waited for her for over four hours in the dirty hotel where we were lodged.
One more hour later, Aunty Pamela announced that she was going.
She gave some US Dollars to the man who was going to lead us but gave us no money.
I became afraid because i didn’t know what we would do if the man chose to disappear with the money. I and Nina were going to be stranded in the middle of nowhere.
As we watched Aunty Pamela walked away, we knew that our fates were in the hands of God.
I had said some prayers and waited for the time when the man, who told us to call him Pascal, would announce that it was time to go.
Pascal wasn’t a Nigerian. I didn’t know where he came from but he spoke French and little English.
I guessed he was from Burkina Faso or Ivory Coast.
“We leave 12 in the night” Pascal had said to us before he left the hotel where we were lodged.
The worst part of our fears when he left was that we had no money whatsoever with us.
“What if this man don’t return here?” Nina had asked me.
I told her not to even think about it.
“The Journey to good Things are usually difficult” I had replied.
We waited for hours until a few minutes to 12am when Pascal came.
He came with another strange man whom he introduced to us as our driver.
“He drive us go Agadez” Pascal had announced.
We didn’t know where Agadez was located or why we were going there, we were just left in the hands of total strangers who were supposed to hand us over to another man in Tripoli. The worst part of it all was that we feared we were going to be raped or even killed.
I regretted making that decision to go to Europe but i didn’t know what i was getting into. I had always thought that it was only through the Aeroplane that people traveled to Italy.
We left Burkina Faso in the middle of the night.
I, Nina, Pascal, the driver and two other girls we picked in another hotel. They were also from Edo State.
Meeting the new girls was a source of hope for us. We had agreed in Edo Language, that we would fight the two men if they attempted to rape us.
One of the new girls had brought out a knife and showed to us and said she would stab any bastard that attempted to touch her.
Just like me, the rest of the girls were also teenagers; all fresh from Secondary schools, promised a better life in Europe and tricked into making a journey that we eventually heard many had died on.
The old Land Rover pickup dragged its feet on the sandy way.
Four of us girls were seated at the back while the two men occupied the front seats.
Before 6am in the morning, we arrived in a town which i had forgotten its name.
Th small town was in the middle of the desert inside Niger Republic.
The old and children stared at us as if they had never seen strangers. There was no civilization in the town and that made me understand that Nigeria was a Heaven.
We located the small local market and bought some dry bread that were as hard as stone. We had water in the pickup; therefore we ate our bread with the water as we waited beside a Mosque which happened to be the only good building in town.
We spent nearly the whole day in that village before moving again.
The smell of Petrol at the back of the pickup didn’t allow us to breath well, not that there was fresh air in the first place.
The temperature was high and i understood it was the reason why we had to spend the whole day in that town.
All through the journey, i had wished that i never attempted it. But in the middle of that desert, there was nothing i could do.
We arrived in Agadez, Niger Republic before the following morning.
There was a hotel where we were taken and to our surprise, we met more Nigerian girls there.
As expected, it gave us more hope that we were in the right direction.
“We stay here and wait for your man. He come we go back” Pascal had said.
He was going to hand us over to another stranger.
There was nothing we could say or do except obey. If we had money, we could have decided to run away but the truth was that Aunty Pamela knew this.
She knew all along.