‘Hermanito’ – Little Brother: A Migrant’s Dramatic Story
The story begins in the city of Conakry, capital of Guinea, a country bordering Senegal, Sierra Leone and Mali, where Ibrahima was born. He lives his childhood in the village of Thiankoi, along with his mother, younger brother and two sisters. From there he moves back to Conakry, where he helps his father sell slippers, until he suddenly dies from diabetes. It seems to be Ibrahima’s fate from childhood to be forced to travel, not by his own will, but by the dramatic events of life. The death of his father forces him to return to his mother, who lives in extreme poverty, which prompts him to embark, as soon as he is 13 years old, on other journeys in search of a better life. We see him at work in Liberia, as a porter during the day at the market, and sleeping at night at the station, “But at night, everyone I knew would disappear, and I’d be left alone. So I’d go back to the station. There I would open cardboard boxes and make myself a small bed. In Liberia I learned to sleep on the street.” The author has simple encounters that reveal simple acts of charity that change the direction of his life, such as being welcomed in a garage by a mechanic, who hires him as an apprentice.
But in Africa, in the villages, life is very fragile, and so Ibrahima must leave what little he has managed to build to return to his village yet again, because his mother is sick and must be taken to the hospital. Ibrahima is the eldest son, and he is responsible for his siblings, particularly Alhassane, the second eldest boy, who must continue his education. But during one of Ibrahima’s absences for work, Alhassane leaves his village to seek his fortune in other lands. Ibrahima feels guilty because he has not been able to provide the money needed for his brother’s studies. He has left for Libya. From here begins his own dramatic journey in search of his younger brother.
Source: La Civilt Cattolica