In the port of La Restinga on the island of El Hierro there is a large mural that says: “My instinct dictates to the sea, to the sea which is a labyrinth.” Just in front of that wall, some workers with an excavator smash a colored canoe to pieces. It is one of those that arrived this week and when they finish, there are four others left waiting to be destroyed dancing in the water near the dock, plus the one that arrived this Thursday with more than 70 people. Climbing onto the truck that is loading the remains of the boat is a young man from Mali, named Fousseni Diakite. She is 32 years old and arrived on a barge similar to the one she destroyed today on February 7, 2009 on the island of Tenerife.
“That date is not forgotten, friend, it is more than your birthday,” he says.
Question: How many days were you at sea?
Answer: 5 nights and 4 days
P.And what is a day at sea like?
R. Not one day. The bad thing is when you haven’t been able to get up for two days because if you move they threaten you because you could unbalance the boat. And you are sitting in the water, because the boat is flooded by the waves. Your legs swell, you end up with a sore ass, a sore cock, and not being able to walk.
On board they have some cookies, apples, dates, although many do not eat anything because they spend the journey vomiting and only have a few sips of water. They had GPS, until it stopped working.
“And then you start going around because you don’t know where you’re going. I saw the captain’s face with fear and then I was afraid too, I said now yes, no one is going to see their mother again,” he recalls.