The story of “Marie” from Cameroon
“….if you are in a place that you feel secure and you are not afraid that somebody is going to kill you, you hope that one day you will have a family again … “
Marie is 32 years old and she is from Cameroon. She has studied marketing and she has been working as a teacher in her country, teaching French to small children. Being in serious danger, she left Cameroon in 2017.
Marie paid a lot of money to a man for helping her with her trip. When she arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, he introduced her to a woman who promised to help her to issue a residence permit. Instead, she got Marie into prostitution and kept all her documents.
“After this man left me, the woman told me this is the place you will stay and the place you can work. Work, which work, I said? You will see, she said, if you need residence you have obligation to do that. Do what? Sleep with men…This woman did me a lot of harm, also beating me, and torturing me in very bad ways. In the morning this place was normal and good, but in the night many men came. What this woman made me, I won’t understand it in my whole life. I didn’t eat, I was only crying all day..”
Marie had been suffering this situation for six months, until one day she met a girl who helped her escape from this woman’s house. “I told her I want to go to the police. She told me this was not a good idea, since I did not have any papers. Turkish don’t know of human rights. If you go and accuse this woman, maybe she puts somebody to kill you. The only option you have is to run for Izmir, and from there to Greece.” Marie was despaired and thought of returning to Cameroon, but fortunately this girl paid for all her transportation expenses and Marie arrived safe to Izmir. There she worked for almost a month in a garment business, so as to gain some money to pay for her trip to Greece. Along with thirty more persons, she crossed the Aegean sea in a boat, wearing no life jacket since she didn’t have enough money to pay the trafficker for it.
However, she managed to arrive safe in a Greek island and then reached Athens.
“…When you have faced too many problems, you think now they are finished. I believed again that God exists, that he picked me and brought me to a paradise that I will not be in danger of being killed again….I am alone here and I have nothing, but if you are in a place that you feel secure and you are not afraid that somebody is going to kill you, you hope that one day you will have a family again. You see, when I come to school and I see all of you I am happy. I cannot stay in my house. To make what? I am happy of learning Greek. Because I want to speak. I want to be very important for this country. My intention is to work. I went in a hotel to work, where they were asking for English and Greek. The man there told me that if I learn to speak Greek everything will go well and I will find a job. So, this gave me power again to learn…I want to be useful for this country. I cannot be useful if I do not speak Greek. It is my obligation to learn it and to come here every time. Each day I come here I have one objective: to learn one sentence. This gives me power. When I don’t come to school I feel like sick, I am missing it. Even if I can’t come from the beginning, even if I am sometimes late, I want to come. I live together with six girls in an apartment. They all have documents, but they don’t go to school to learn Greek. Me, I have no documents but I come. Not just now, I started learning Greek since I was in the island. From 8.30 o’ clock in the morning I attend different kind of courses here in Greece. When I get back home at night I say, ok God, everything went well today, I take my shower and I relax ….”