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Remains of a Journey - by Francesca Phillips | by Royal Anthropological Institute's Education Dept.
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Remains of a Journey - by Francesca Phillips

Left behind in the cayucos or pateras that brought them, the belongings of would-be immigrants from the Western shores of Africa to the Canary Islands remained deserted and forgotten. For weeks at a time, while the local authorities decided how best to dispose of the boats, these possessions lay rotting, remnants of a bleak and harsh journey that for many resulted in death, and a daily reminder of the once crucial part they played in the transition from one life to another.

The discarded paraphernalia presented questions: were the jeans simply laid out to dry, or were they rescued from the body of a companion, to be used for added warmth by a new owner? Did the number fifteen on driftwood signify the people who had fallen overboard? As the boats sank to the seabed new stories began for the lives of the people that left a grim journey behind.

 

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Taken on April 28, 2014