Life at the notorious Pantanella, the ex-pasta factory
That was the place I lived and worked as a toilet cleaner for thousands of immigrants, using six containers as toilets, to raise money to feed. I was employed by the Muslim head at the place. It’s terrible and frightening to live at Pantenella. It wasn’t a prison, but the place, I think was tough like Alcatraz, because of the criminal activities many illegal immigrants engaged in feeding.
The abandoned factory accommodated both soft and hardened criminals from various countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Africa etc. I lived in Pantanella for four months, and the Italian government tired of the crimes going on in that abandoned Pasta factory ejected all the foreigners.
But the Italian government did something great for the African immigrants. Something we weren’t expecting. The government paid for two weeks stay in a hotel for all the Africans, with the ultimatum that before the two weeks expired, we should find a place on our own to live.
Through a very good sympathetic woman called Nana, (she died in Rome a few years ago) I got a job as a houseboy to serve one journalist called Claudio Lavazza, working at television station TG2, belonging to the former Italian Prime Minister, Sylvio Berlusconi.
He provided me with accommodation and paid me well. Besides, he gave me the new version of Fiat Cinque Cento (500) to drive. It may be likely that I was the first black man in entire Italy to drive the new Fiat Cinque Cento when it freshly came out. I met other journalist friends of Claudio, including Michele Cucuzza.
After serving Claudio Lavazza for three years, I decided to leave Rome finally. After three years in Ghana, I flew from Accra to Germany and left the country to join other Ghanaians in Amsterdam as an illegal immigrant.
Life in Amsterdam, Holland
In Amsterdam, I lived in a notorious neighborhood called Bijlmer, known for drug and arms trafficking. It’s a home for illegal immigrants. The blocks had ten floors. On many occasions, illegal immigrants resisting police arrest jumped to their death. The news of Bijlmer never ceased appearing in newspapers. Investigations revealed that as low as 200 Euros could get one a gun, crime in Bijlmer, therefore, was abnormal.
The man I lived with at Bijlmer, deals in fake European and American passports. I was scared to death. I knew if I am arrested it will not be good for me as a well-known journalist in Ghana. Within three days through a pastor of a church I was attending, I relocated.
A week after leaving the place, police invaded the apartment of the fake passport dealer and arrested everyone. It was the biggest news in Holland. “Fake passports which look like original,” was the front page headlines.
Read more: https://www.modernghana.com/news/875048/the-heart-wrenching-tales-of-an-african-illegal-immigrant-in.html