Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

Innocent Njeba, 32 years old, 6 months at Lesvos

“I know that one day I will leave this island”

I am from Cameroon. I am 32 years old. I have been here for two months. I left my country because of political instability. I was brutally beaten by the police, because I am from the English part of Cameroon which is in conflict with the French part.

When we go to the French part to find a job they won’t give a job to the English people. So there is a lot of marginalization, discrimination against the English people. In October 2016, the English part of Cameroon stood up and said that we need our independence, we need to live better because it is too much. We have everything, we have petrol, raw materials, they come from our soil, they stole our petrol, everything we have. They took advantage of us and we don’t even have roads. They started a demonstration to call for dialogue, to solve this. The police shoot the civilians who peacefully demonstrated.

I left because I was brutalized, and my life was not safe. The police hit me, if you can see my fingers are broken, I was in hospital for two weeks. Someone gave me information that the police were coming after me. So that was the reason I left, I was forced to flee the hospital, without completing my treatment. As I’m talking to you right now I have problem with my chest, my fingers, were broken.

I was working. I had a small office; I was in building construction, constructing houses. I came here on the 21st of November. I went from Cameroon to Turkey. I was in Turkey for two months and paid a smuggler to get me here.

Life here in Greece is not easy; it’s horrible. We are not safe here, because the food we eat is not good. It is very hard to live in the tent. It’s cold and we don’t have heating, we have nothing. Then, you live with people with unpredictable character. Our life is not secure in the camp.

I live in a tent with seven people.

I came here in Greece because I wanted to be secure. At times I ask people how can I live in Greece, because I really love to live in Greece. But Greeks say there are no jobs, Greeks are suffering from the crisis, and to live here and have nothing it would be terrible. I want to make a family, but if you are in a country doing nothing, no matter the security, it just can’t work.

I know that one day I will leave this island. I am optimistic that I will go to Athens.