salah elnagar في الجمعة 14 ابريل 2017
I called the Smuggler on my phone and I asked:
“What’s the plan for today? Where will I meet you?”
“At the highway, the same place as yesterday.”
“Will anybody from the jungle be joining me today?”
“No, you will be travelling alone and do not be late because the highway is very busy today."
The day before I had returned to the jungle shaking with the cold. My clothes in the tent had disappeared. It had been raining heavily and I had to take my neighbours dry clothing to keep me warm and dry whilst I slept.
I dressed myself, making sure I was wearing a waterproof coat because yesterday it had rained heavily.
Now it was night time again. As I stood there, I thought about how I had arrived at this point of my life. All of my waking days were spent in trying to get out of the jungle but, I was always unsuccessful. The day before I had returned to the camp about four or five o’clock in the morning having spent the previous couple of hours walking the five or six miles back from the port. I was exhausted. I had been alone the whole time. Some times on this journey I travelled with friends, sometimes not, but this night.
I gazed at the camp that we called the jungle as the tents gradually took shape in the dawn. There were about one thousand tents or more and many nationalities. The camp was organised into areas for: Syrians, the Sudanese, Afghans, Pakistanis, Kurds, Eritreans, Ethiopians and Egyptians.
I arrived at the highway. I went to the left and right looking for the smugglers, their assistants or any people who wanted to go England like me. I walked through the thick grass on the side of thehighway, avoiding the lorries which went by so quickly. I stayed nearly twenty minutes, looking for any sign of activity. There was only the sound of thelorries. I phoned the smuggler but he did not answer. I was afraid that he had changed the plans for this night and I had walked for two hours for nothing. Ithad happened many times before. The smuggler would phone us to move to the smuggling area, then changed his plans. Suddenly I heard people’svoices far away. I ran quickly heading towards the voices. I fell down in the grass during the running because I could not see well. I stood again. My legswere in pain but I ran again, heading towards the voices. Finally, I met the smugglers with fifteen other people. My smuggler welcomed me. I asked him, “Why was your mobile turned off?”
“Maybe the signal in this highway is weak.” He answere
We followed the smugglers to go to the smuggling area. It was here that the lorries had to slow down as the road became very steep and it was so dark that the police would not be able to see us. It was nearly midnight. We followed the smuggler to the location and one of the smugglers sent his assistants on reconnaissance to look out for lorries. The smuggler’s second assistant waited to receive a call from the other smuggler who was keeping watch. When he gave him the signal he would block thebottom of the road with cones. The smugglers sorted us into four groups. Each group consisted of four or five people. Three groups were hidden at the bottom of the bridge, and a group with him were ready to ride the first lorry which would be stopped by barriers and cones.
I was in the first group which consisted of five people who were hidden in the thick grass at the side of the road. The lorry driver would not be able to see us by the lorry’s headlights. We were ready to run to the back of the lorry as soon as the smuggler said,“Come.” I heard a mobile ring. One of his assistants told the smuggler that he had seen a lorry two milesaway. The smuggler phoned another of his assistants and told him to put the barriers on the highway and told us to be ready to walk behind him so the lorry driver would not see us in his mirrors. We saw the lorry headlights. The beat of my heart increased with every second as the lorry approached the barriers and I dared to think, my friend this might be your lucky night.
The brakes squealed and the lorry stopped. The driver sounded the horn then he waited for three or four minutes. I thought perhaps that he thought the French police had placed the cones because there might have been accident or a problem on the highway and he was waiting for the cones to be removed. This driver was clearly inexperience. I smiled. I said to myself. This might be my lucky night. We were lucky that this lorry driver was inexperienced because those who knew the score either crashed the cones or removed them and then informed the police who would check the lorries and the area carefully. After four minutes the driver got out of the cab and went to remove the barriers. The smuggler whispered, “Come on guys.”
We ran behind him, following his instructionscarefully, hoping that the lorry had cartons or boxesor even loaves of bread to hide behind. The night before I had climbed inside a lorry that was transporting steel and the control had found me easily when he shone his torch as there was nowhere for me to hide. For four minutes we approached the lorry, crawling slowly through the thick grass in the darkness, waiting for the right moment. When the driver opened the lorry door to remove the cones, we moved swiftly towards the lorry. We stood at the back door waiting for the smuggler open the door.
The smuggler opened the door by using a tooldesigned for that purpose. It was a tool made of steellike the wrench used to remove car wheels. I had seen use it to break the locks on lorry doors. If the locks were very strong and he could not to open themwith the tool, he opened the lorry from the sides. Both sides of the lorries were made from plastic or a thick cloth secured with straps. The smuggler liked to open the lorries from the sides because it did not look as through. They had been tampered with. The smuggling operations that succeeded did so because the smuggler had opened the lorry from both sides,not the back doors.