Ethiopians return home to a bleak future

More than 150,000 Ethiopians have been deported from Saudi Arabia in recent months.

Rebecca Murray

Ahmed woke up in a Riyadh hospital with his kidney removed [Rebecca Murray/Al Jazeera]
Ahmed woke up in a Riyadh hospital with his kidney removed [Rebecca Murray/Al Jazeera]

(Aljazeera) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ahmed, 20 years old, weakly sits down in a chair under the hot sun, dazed, as young men and women jostle in the yard around him. He has just been deported from Saudi Arabia after a month-long imprisonment, like the others at this crowded migrant transit center in Ethiopia’s capital.

But Ahmed’s ordeal is unique. He bears fresh scars across his knees, down his upper arms, and across his stomach. With a medical investigation by an Ethiopian doctor still ongoing, preliminary results show so far that Ahmed is missing his left kidney.

His short-term memory fails him. Ahmed, who comes from Ethiopia’s central Amhara region, does remember paying a couple hundred dollars to human smugglers for the dangerous, illegal passage to Djibouti, across the sea to Yemen, and north to Saudi Arabia.

He worked for a year and a half as a carpenter in Riyadh, living with other Ethiopian migrants and sending home meagre wages to his impoverished family.

Three months ago Ahmed recalls waking up in a Riyadh hospital room with jagged wounds crisscrossing his body, but with no recollection about how he got them, or how he got there. Promptly transferred to an overcrowded Riyadh prison because of his illegal immigration status, Ahmed was finally deported home by plane a few weeks ago. He is waiting to hear the doctor’s final prognosis before he returns to his village, a sickly version of his former self. Read more on Aljazeera…

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