Stefanella's Drive Thru

Israel, U.S., conflict, war, peace, humor, travel, romance, fashion, fun

Africans in Israel February 17, 2008

Meet Marcelle. He’s an attractive 15-year-old, no?

And sweet. I can vouch for that. I met him last week. On Valentine’s Day, in fact. It was rainy and mucky outside but his megawatt smile lit up the room.

He speaks French and a smattering of English.

But he doesn’t look all too chipper in this particular photo.

To be expected, I guess. After all, he walked/ran thousands and thousands of miles from Africa’s West Coast – Cote d’Ivoire, to be exact – to Tel Aviv. Take a look at the map. You’ll get a shock.

Yes. By foot.

Rumor has it that for fleeing refugees like Marcelle, getting to Israel entails torture, imprisonment, the constant threat of death and sometimes witnessing the murder of family members.

That’s why he’s alone in the Tel Aviv shelter he shares with dozens of others like him who have fled Eritrea and Sudan. He was orphaned. He witnessed his parents’ murders.

Marcelle is desperate for an adoptive family. He’s suffering. But then he has been through the kind of purgatory most of us only read about or see in movies.

So have many others like him. His name’s not Marcelle, by the way. He’s afraid that if I print his real name something might happen to relatives back in the Cote d’Ivoire.

The 6,000 refugees in Israel: It’s real and they need help.

Get in touch with the African Refugee Development Center to find out what you can do.