Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Hellish Journey

My friend Muhammad Jamil Akhtar recently shared this awesome photo on Facebook and its accompanying explaination. I was really horrified to read the details and pittied these poor workers who have to undergo this agony only to make the lives of their near and dear ones back home more comfortable na happier - at the cost of their lives, extreme weathers and dangers of being looted en route.

The place as seen in the this overloaded truck is Sahelzone in the eastern Niger. The journey is through the Grand Erg ( dune sea ) of Bilma in the Ténéré desert. These poor workers from Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Burkina Faso work in Libya during the whole month and then buy goods like bicycles, sweing machines, electronics like TV and radio from whatever they earn. Once they reach their homes, they sell these to provide happiness to their families.

The journey is not pleasant by any account. This hellish journey takes 20 days to cover a distance of some 2,500 kilometres from Toummo on the border of Libya and Niger to Agadés in Niger. The travel continues during day time under scorching sun with temperature rising to 45°or 113F and falling to -2° at night. However the truck stops at night so as not to be ambushed en route and for other security and safety reasons.

Many from our country too work in Arab countries including Libya and it may not be a surprise if some from our country too are part of this awesome hair raising  travel. The relatives back home, living in the comforts provided by the hard earned money of the expatriates would never know how every single penny is earned and saved. Anyone reading this may now know.


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