The suffering of a stowaway immigrant

From a beautifully-written, heartbreaking piece titled The cruellest voyage (written by Nick Davies for The Guardian):

In 1992, Kingsley Ofosu fled poverty in Ghana for the promised land of Europe. But the journey had barely begun when he witnessed the callous murder of his fellow stowaways. He escaped, and an article in the Guardian brought his story to the attention of the world. Hollywood and fame followed, but now he is back in Ghana, living in poverty again. Nick Davies, who wrote the original story, visits him in Accra and hears how it all went wrong.

In search of a solution to his young family’s poverty in Ghana, he had stowed away on a cargo ship with his brother and six friends. On board, they found a ninth stowaway, who had crept on to the ship in Cameroon. Six days later, on the high seas, they were discovered by the crew, who were afraid that they would lose their jobs if they arrived in Europe with the migrants. And so, after locking them in a tiny, dark storage room for three days, the seamen set about murdering the would-be migrants.

Ofosu was the only survivor. As he watched his brother Albert being shot and tossed over the side to join the seven other corpses in the churning sea, he managed to escape from the crew. For three days, he hid in the dark rafters of the hold as the seamen searched for him. Finally, the ship put in to Le Havre to unload some of its cargo of cocoa beans. With extraordinary resourcefulness, he not only found his way out of the locked hold by shinning up a ventilation shaft but had the foresight to break open a sack of cocoa beans and plant his Ghanaian identity card deep among them to prove that his unbelievable story was true.

It is a sad story of struggle and of what it means to be poor in today’s world. A must-read.


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