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Face To Face With all the “Looky Looky” Men Of Ibiza

Posted Aug 25 2012 3:30am
Ibiza has served like a magnet for lost souls since late 1960s. Yet few can have felt as voiceless, remote and alienated as the so-called boatpeople from Senegal, the streetwise survivors who may have fashioned an incongruous home alongside the glamorous residents from the White Isle.

On the sands of Salinas, Ibiza’s hippest playa, the contrast involving the fatigued émigrés hawking Cheap Oakley sunglasses   as well as the off-duty models gleefully carrying ice buckets as a result of direct sunlight-loungers is very stark. The jetset don't want to appear dead in replica shades. The minority who purchase manage to achieve this purely as a method in order to avoid eye contact using the traders throughout the morning.

Alex, from your north of Senegal, speaks broken English having a versed London accent plus a stutter. His earnest efforts to talk belie both his prefer to change and his suppressed sense of inferiority.

“The fact head to school in Senegal but I've got learned English, Italian, Spanish and German from chatting with people here,” he tells, that's so good going for a person that had never set foot beyond his home country two years ago.

He is determined to produce one of the most than it too, having endured nine freezing nights crossing choppy Atlantic waters to achieve Europe last spring. “Among us drowned on it trip. He went crazy, didn't think he was on the ocean anymore and jumped within the water. Mort.”

Yet few can offer felt as voiceless, remote and alienated because so-called boatpeople from Senegal, the streetwise survivors who've fashioned an incongruous home alongside the glamorous residents of the White Isle.
The 108 who survived the voyage aboard the lothio (a plantain-shaped vessel 25 yards in total) offloaded in the Canary Islands. Without documentation to facilitate repatriation, the passengers were permitted to remain vacation. Through little rhyme or reason, Alex found his solution to Ibiza. Again, he was facing a sink or swim scenario. This time around it had been task of making money and not using a national insurance number and the to certainly employment.

“I do not strive to be selling Cheap Oakley,” he admits. “I wish to obtain a languages diploma and take a step else, however it will be difficult because I'm not really Spanish. My business is black and I don't have any papers. Still, I can not stressed. Should you be stressed people will never purchase from you. You have to maintain a positive attitude.”

It really is impossible to get oblivious towards the fact that marketing yourself on Salinas*. Soak up overmuch sun and you can kid yourself into thinking that the nudists with the far end of the bay are wearing designer labels. Alex knows it preoccupation with presentation and endeavours to stand right out of the crowd. His flat-peaked baseball cap is fixed at dead-on 90 degrees and the jewellery in his ears – rough imitation diamonds – match his raw but ambitious essence.

Alex’s bravado is apparently bringing some sales, but for the older Senegalese who've been in Ibiza longer – and specifically those with children at home – it is harder to front up right through the day, every single day.

“I don't strive to be selling sunglasses,” he admits. “I would like to receive a languages diploma and do something else, nevertheless it will be difficult because That's not me Spanish. I am black and I don't have any papers. Still, I need to not be stressed. Should you be stressed people won't buy from you. You must stay happy.”

Oman, 26, has lived in Ibiza (and Seville during the cold months) since his teens possesses a daughter in Senegal who has “only ever seen me online.” He misses her deeply but assures at the very least 150 euros is wired home on a monthly basis. This represents the sole source of income for his parents and siblings too, each one of whom still are in central Senegal.

Oman’s* responsibilities as being the sole breadwinner in their family made him competitive. Scanning the beach, he counts twenty of his compatriots and shows that you can find “a lot of people selling the same stuff for everyone to make any money. We are not friends, we're all here to try and earn money for our families.”

The financial pressures can make for tensions. Oman, who stands at 6’2”, lives with seven other Senegalese at a many claustrophobic high-rise flats in San Antonio, Ibiza’s commercial, concrete hub. The eight tenants are necessary to pay 1,200 euros in one payemnt rent for the same “boss” who supplies their Cheap Oakley Mens sunglasses   from Greece at six euros an occasion. “These are fakes, certainly. Nice fakes, nevertheless fakes,” says Oman, who speaks politely but with the frustration of your man too old and intelligent to be flogging cheap goods for a four euro profit. His heart just isn't within it and the man wants to resume Senegal, just like nearly all of his compatriots in Ibiza. If he previously his time again, you suspect although do not have risked his life to set sail for Europe.

Dismissed as laughing-stock looky looky men by British ravers and maligned as “mafia” by wary Ibizans, it can be rarely recognised these youth, mostly men in their twenties, represent the brave and lucky ones who survived the emigration on the west coast of Africa. Despite advances with GPS and phone technology, many always perish from the shores of Mauritania and Western Sahara yearly. This after paying over 500 euros to produce the journey, a fortune in relative terms.

Guillermo Cardoma, the bar manager of Sa Trinxa* on Salinas for fifteen years, has no sympathy. “People don’t like them. They disturb absolutely free themes every three minutes selling things. They've already broken the atmosphere of Salinas. That is said to be a place for tranquillo, for relaxing, but they are just like a mafia.”

Guillermo* asserts that “each will sell drugs,” before moderating this claim and suggesting it is always possible to “choose one advisors you never know someone who sells drugs.” Really, you might say this about a lot of people about the island.

The eight tenants are required to pay 1,200 euros in one payemnt rent on the same “boss” who supplies their sunglasses from Greece at six euros a time.
Nevertheless, Cardoma seriously isn't alone in doling out condemnation. There are a number of “stupid people” amongst the 200-odd community moving into San Antonio that do things they shouldn’t do, concedes Momo*, a veteran Senegalese Oakley Frogskins -seller who's been living in Ibiza and Tenerife for eight years. He highlights that crime is particularly prevalent on the well-known Egg Roundabout in San An. The authorities patrol times are memorised from the troublemakers and the cops are really easy to swerve.

“The illegal immigrants are not popular here,” says Rafael Serrano, a painter from Madrid who lived within a tower block next to the Egg this past year, before rattling off three eyewitness accounts of crimes involving theft and prostitution.

Almost all of the Senegalese – in addition to a tiny supplement of Gambians as well as other sub-Saharans – that have caused it to be as far as Ibiza are not actually classed through the authorities as illegal immigrants. There are restrictions on the forms of work they're allowed to do and also the benefits they are able to claim however they have leave to stay vacation. Amending these restrictions on employment would most likely help the dynamic, encouraging greater integration and fewer criminality ..

Curro, an eloquent Café del Mar* barman from Fuerteventura, argues the African community in Spain need to receive more opportunities for what they've got risked for their dangerous lothio voyages. “You cannot blame anyone for wanting to better themselves, for planning to give their loved ones more chances. They've risked their lives for something better from life. An improved life's an element that everyone should want. Plainly was at their situation I'd probably do exactly the same.”

“Inside Canaries, my dad is really a doctor and my mother utilizes the Red Cross,” Curro adds. “I'm comfortable with the people proceed through about the lothios and anyone who endures what they've endured deserves sympathy, plenty of it.”

Fact file: Senegal to Ibiza (via the Canary Islands)

Lothios (single-motor longboats) carrying 100 + Senegalese tripped from St Louis inside north, the main town Dakar, and Casamance south.
The ships use GPS to navigate their way towards Tenerife and also the other Canary Islands.
Should the national identities from the passengers are not established inside a set timeframe, the consumers are given leave to remain in Spain, and therefore are flown to the mainland. You will discover restrictions on rights to be effective and rights to benefits.
The journey may take between one to two weeks to perform which is highly dangerous.
Tickets cost approximately 500 euros.
Senegalese community in Ibiza estimated at 500 (200 in San Antonio)**
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