I read about a 52 year old fisherman from Zarzis, a town in the far south of Tunisia, named Chamseddine Maarzouk and a member of the Red Crescent ( a sibling organization of the Red Cross). He was the first who started the strangers graveyard in Zarzis
In 2003, Chamseddine began to find the remains and bodies of people who had traveled by boat from Libya with a desire to get to Europe. He took the remains and bury them down in one place, made a kind of burial site and eventually there were more than 300 remains, but Only one grave has one name in the stranger’s graveyard. There is a 28 year old woman named Rose Mari from Nigeria, she was a teacher. 2 children are also in this cemetery.
In The stranger’s graveyard in Zarzis they started raising money to buy a new land so that they could expand the already crowded place but they have not reached the goal yet. Now they fear winter because the bodies and remains may get exhumed …..
The visit to The strangers graveyard in Zarzis
We drove along a narrow road out on the salt lake but the place was not easy to find and we asked around and got helped by friendly people. The heat hit me when i got out of the car like a punch on the stomach. The impressions came … Not slowly, but like a hard punch on the stomach. There is a sign there where it’s written “the stranger’s graveyard” in several languages.
Some people had made a kind of monument with things that have been found with the refugees, including children shoes. There were rake and water for those who want to help water the plants. They have tried to plant the barren dry soil.
Who are those souls? Who do they miss?…
Waiting for the hope
There is a mother, a father in one country somewhere waiting and not getting peace until they know where their loved one is. Did he find happiness in the land of his dreams? Did he get rich as he had told them he would be? Does he come home in a suit and with gold jewelery as he had said he will?
Will they soon get money? The money that he had earned in the job he got and that he promised to send them? Small gifts, clothes, soap … They had told the neighbors proudly that now they would get money for food and school for the small kids …. Did he fool them? Has he forgotten them?
They are waiting …. Every day they ask for a sign of life. Can anyone tell them the story? Does anyone know? Does anyone who survived know him?
Who was the teacher from Nigeria? Was she a mother? Was she a wife? What did she want in her life? Did she dream of being able to teach in a clean classroom with students in freshly ironed uniforms? In the land of happiness where she could get a salary she could live on every month.
You….my child. You’ve never got to play with the car my little friend. I hope that you are playing in heaven, that the angels stroke your forehead every night and kiss you while you fall asleep. Maybe you shrug your shoulders, this does not concern you, and you are so far away. Africa is so far far away… It could be your brother, it could be your husband, your wife … It could be you ….
Written by carita
Please share…..Feel free to leave a comment .