Giorgis’s travels: The incredible adventure VI …

About Eritrea - Art & Sport

Giorgis was not lucky. He couldn’t quit the idea of escaping in the United States but the surveillance was tight and there was nothing he could do. After two weeks in California, the Dutch ship returned and picked him up from Panama. The cruise to Cape Town, South Africa was a blindfolded travel for Giorgis; the captain was mad at him and wouldn't show any compassion to let Giorgis out of his cell..

All the way from Panama to Cape Town, Giorgis kept on thinking about how to break out and try his luck again in South Africa. Completing the cruise in the Atlantic Ocean, Sub Marinda made a port call in Cape Town, which was scheduled to stay for another 10 days. By then, Giorgis had already become acquainted with the formalities and schedules of the ship. The entire crew went out to the city but a few remained behind, especially the doctor who was given the task of looking after Giorgis couldn’t let his eyes off.

“I never gave up hope till that moment. Again I thought of breaking out in Cape Town but I was locked up in my cell so I had to find a way to be let out into the open air. Then I started screaming from my cell on and on, which made the doctor very concerned.” The doctor opened to ask what was going on and Giorgis was able to show a sorry face. “I told the doctor how inhumane it was of them to lock me up in a single cell and that it would be appropriate to let me at least sit in the open air for the day time”.

The doctor agreed and took him out but with hand cuffs on his hand and the other to the ship so he wouldn’t make any attempt. Giorgis began enjoying the sea breeze from the outside and the view of the city. At least he entertained himself looking at the employees of the port. Two days went by and the doctor started relaxing knowing that Giorgis was cuffed.

Luckily one day, one of the employees of the port who happened to be a South African approached Giorgis and asked him why he was being arrested. Giorgis managed to tell at least a part of his story to the South African and gained compassion from him. The man was touched by his story and told him that he would try to get him some kind of a tool that would help Giorgis unlock the cuffs.

The next morning, the South African brought some metallic tool as promised and handed it to Giorgis wishing him good luck. The rest of the day, Giorgis kept on trying to unlock his cuffs and finally won at around noon. But he couldn’t escape because the ship crew was preparing for lunch and he was vulnerable. He waited till the crew went in to the cafeteria and started running; but not to the port because of the port guards but to the basement of the ship.

He kept quiet in there and could hear the voice of the crew screaming his name looking for him. “My plan was to stay hidden inside the ship where they wouldn’t suspect and make my way out during the night or any other given opportunity, I though that was a perfect idea”. But the captain of the ship was much smarter and ordered the crew to search inside the ship knowing that he was not seen running out. Every time he tries, Giorgis found himself unlucky. He was caught again and thrown into his cell once again.

From there, the ship went straight to Mombasa, Kenya to make one last port call before it went back to Djibouti. “Mombassa was like Panama for me. I spend the days and nights in prison but I was fed in the ship. Every morning, noon and evening, an Indian police driver drops me to the ship for my meals. The captain of the ship was sarcastic that time. He started saluting me and I asked him why he was doing that. And the captain said, ‘look at you, you have a driver and a guard, you eat good food, you have your own doctor, I don’t even have those privileges, I feel like you are my superior’ it even made me laugh”.

Following Mombassa, the final destination for Giorgis, if not for the ship was Djibouti and there they were. The Captain couldn’t wait to get Giorgis off his charge so he went directly to the police and reported. After a couple of hours, the Ethiopian ambassador to Djibouti came to Giorgis and tried to open a conversation. But Giorgis was sick and tired of everything. After a week’s rest in the most expensive hotel in Djibouti with the ship crew, Giorgis was sent back to Eritrea, the port city of Assab.

When he landed in Assab, Giorgis could see soldiers with militaries he was not used to. By then it had already become way over 20 years since Giorgis took off from his home in Mendefera. The Derg regime took power and was colonizing Eritrea. Giorgis was again sent off to Asmara, which he only had seen over 30 years back. Giorgis stayed for a night in Asmara and thought of going to his home the next morning. After all these years and all these places he went to, Giorgis was finally around 55 kilometers away from his mother.

Early the next morning, Giorgis went to the bus station to take the bus to Mendefera. But then he thought, “After all these years, coming back to my mother empty handed was killing me inside. And then I said to myself, I rather continue my quest and go to Sudan to begin yet another journey”. Giorgis took the bus to Tesseney and began his voyage.