The stories start long before they even try to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Telling them on the mountain takes time and trust. Sometimes it’s better to wait until the lights go out, but then the griots to get going:
This is the story of some of those dreaming men, mostly men and a few women, making their way to Gurugu Mountain in Morocco, trying to get to the Spanish enclave that leads them on to Europe. So near and yet so far, they start to wonder if they have made the right choice:
The author of The Gurugu Pledge, Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, crossed that sea himself. He protested against the brutal regime in Equatorial Guinea and now lives in exile in Barcelona. He knows that many will not survive the journey. So do we in Europe, but it makes a huge difference to read that story from the other side, in Jethro Soutar’s vivid translation:
This makes the narrator take a bold decision to give up the very thing he gave up everything for. He won’t go forward any more:
And so he stays in the no-man’s-land on the mountain, remembering the dead and lost, gathering stories and memories of where they all came from.