Voices on the Move

Balade camp, Bossaso. Photo:Pooja Bhalla
August 14, 2012 Written by: Pooja Bhalla

“I do not know when I will go to the Arab place….”

With no job prospects in Adama (also known as Nazret, Ethiopia) for someone of low level education, Shukri decided to make the perilous journey to seek a future elsewhere. She is a 21 year old single female of Oromo ethnicity and has been living in Bossaso illegally for the last four years.

“I come from a big family, many brothers and sisters. But I left them to come here. One day when I was little, my mother said no more going to school…there is no money. But later my brother, he sent me to school. Then again, when I was bigger, I was told no… but I like to go to school.

I was just helping at home. But I saw that there was no hope…how to live just like that. In the market there were many men, they would say what are you doing here feeding goats, go to the ‘land of money’…but I did not listen to them. Then when things got bad at home I was thinking that my father would marry me to some old man, like my sister. So I went to the market and told the men to take me to the money. They told me, give them some money first. Then I went to my father, his cupboard I know he kept his money there. It was little, 1,200 (Ethiopian) birr (U.S.D 67) but the men said they would only take me half way. They told me not to worry….I am beautiful and someone would help me along the way…

From Adama I was taken by car with others to the border and then to Hargesia. At the border I had to pay 300 birr (U.S.D 17) but the men with us paid less. Then a man, Ethiopian who I was travelling with, said there is nothing in Hargesia….no one would help me. I went with him to Bossaso. We went on foot and sometimes with a truck. It was very scary but this man he looked after me so I had hope in my head. I do not know where he is now.

I do not know when I will go to the Arab place, I do not know what I will do there but people here in Bossaso tell me that if you work hard and are good you can get much money even if you have not studied. I miss my family, I feel dirty that I stole their very little money but when I get money I will send them some…”

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