Friday, January 16, 2009

A very sad story ...

Then the story of M; I don't know where to start with her, she claims to be Beninoise/Togolaise, she doesnt speak French very well and then I started speaking in English to her, she understood me perfectly but replies in 'her' French.

She has been living on the beach for 3yrs she says, her parents died 3yrs ago and she has been alone ever since. She told me her father died in Cote d'Ivoire and her mother in Benin. However I don't think it's the whole truth I immediately felt she was Nigerian with her surname & the fact she knew Lagos well when we talked about it, her father worked there. I suspect she's been trafficked here ... I 'interviewed' her in English as Eric + Diouf dont speak a word, we went very slowly but after 4hrs I had the basics although there's a lot of missing information and we all felt that she was hiding something; the story doesn't quite add up. I have a good schoolfriend from Nigeria and called her to verify that the surname she'd given was in fact Nigerian as I suspected; my friend was great and came straight back to me to agree with me.

I was convinced she's not 13 but 11 or 12 - mentally we think she's ok but physically she wasn't good, been peeing blood for over a year she said and has been raped several times by the same two men when she slept in the market - she only went there when it rained on the beach. I was going to go with her and Eric to a school where we think she was enrolled, I find it strange that a '13' yr old cannot remember which school she went to 3yrs ago - hence our suspicions ... I was not happy I was leaving as there was a lot to be done with her .... we had hoped that that afternoon she would go to Abidjan to a laboratory to get a thorough health check. She was so sweet ... clung onto me and opened up more with me than the guys - why did I have to fly so soon???!!!

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