Jessica, refugee in Lesbos: “I always hold my head high”



“My name is Jessica and I am 23 years old. On January 5, I will be living in Lesbos for two years. Daniela was born here twenty months ago. I had four refusals to try to get papers, but I can’t.

→ REPORT. The cry of Pope Francis in Lesbos: “Let’s stop this sinking of civilization!” “

I left the Democratic Republic of Congo because an uncle wanted to marry me to a man much older than me. From Kinshasa, where I lived, I joined Turkey from my country, by plane. I had a visa. When I arrived in Turkey, I first worked in a factory where they made jeans. It was very hard. We worked standing, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., with a very short break in the middle of the day.

Then I was caught in a prostitution ring to get money. That’s how I got pregnant, I never knew who the father was. After a few months I was kicked out, and that’s when I decided to go to Greece, which I had heard about from colleagues.

When I made up my mind to cross, I had no more money. So I convinced a man to take my phone and pass me off. We left at night, in a small makeshift boat, there were thirty of us. There was water coming in. I was scared. The crossing lasted six hours. We arrived on January 5, 2020. I was 6 months pregnant. Quickly, I filed a request for asylum, but it was rejected. I then took a Greek lawyer, but he didn’t believe my story.

“I always pray to the good Lord to get me out of here”

The Lesbos camp caught fire some time ago, but it still doesn’t count. The living conditions there are extremely difficult. Here, we just have access to the basic necessities, the bare essentials. My child too. You can leave the camp on certain days, provided you have your badge. Depending on his number, we have the right to go out on any given day.

If anything good can happen after the Pope’s visit, it always will be. I hope that the Pope will be able to change the situation of families in particular, including single women with children. For me, I don’t know the future. But I am willing to go wherever there is peace, freedom, the opportunity to work and a school for my child.

As for the rest, I don’t know. But I still hold my head up high. I am a fighter. I pray to the good Lord to get me out of here all the time. It is an open-air prison. All we see is the sky. We can’t work, we can’t go anywhere. After the Pope leaves, I don’t know what will become of us. Even though he is not God, he has things to say. I’m counting on me. “

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