03/12/20 – Tesfay Talks

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, March 12, 2020.




The European migrant crisis which began in 2015 is still a real problem. There are many books and documentaries both about the situation and first-hand accounts of those living it. Tesfay’s story is not uncommon. And it breaks my heart.


  1. Night-Gaunt49

    Some of them lose their balance and vomit. Glad it isn’t from the other end…

    Also glad they won’t have to clean it up.

    Small things compared to Emily’s injuries.

    Regenerative medicine is the best.

  2. Meoi Lass

    Thank goodness I don’t get motion sick…I have to agree, that does look fun.

    I kinda hope Emily keeps her hair. It’s been a defining feature of who she is, pretty much since the start. Then again, webcomics are prone to falling headlong into tropes faster than you can say “puceberries”, so I won’t be too surprised if her hair changes as a visual portrail of self-expression, and personal growth as an indevidual.

    The sad stories of this epic are filled with all the emotional aspects of reality, of our broken societies, which gives life, and solidity to the realities of this comic. Thank you for making real people for your stories Mr Baldwin.

    Meoi Lass

  3. War Pig

    I don’t get sea, air or space sick, thankfully. I’ve even ridden the “vomit comet” without problems.

    Unfortunately I’ve had to see first hand the sort of things he describes – and a lot worse besides. Not so much their travel problems but the conditions that led them to flee. I’ve also had a hand in stopping human trafficking, at least some of the time. It is so prevalent it is like cutting off the heads of the hydra. Here in the US the penalties are harsh when caught. In most of the world nobody cares. We stopped a freighter full of trafficked children once. I wanted to hang the officers and crew from the yardarms but summary executions are frowned upon so they were arrested and sent back to the ship’s flag destination (Eritrea), where they were probably immediately released and put back to work. The bad thing is that some of the nations where the children were taken didn’t want them back. If a trafficked woman tries to go home to Myanmar (Burma), for example she can be executed on the spot if caught. She is considered “soiled”. Repatriating trafficked women and children can be tricky. Eritrea is one of the worst.

    1. Mr. Scott

      I wonder what it would take for the “soiled” cultural beliefs to change. Understand the enemy (beliefs): what fundamental beliefs or drives keep these cultural beliefs in place? What is the payoff?

      Behaviors are a way to meet needs. Sometimes the behaviors are poorly chosen and destructive (e.g. someone starts drinking heavily to avoid feeling fear and loneliness, however people tend to avoid alcoholics). What need is this a (destructive) attempt to meet?

      Usually a better way to meet the need can be found.

      Why does “soiled” get applied only to women and not men?

  4. Matt

    Thanks for sharing Tesfay’s backstory. Yes, this is an ongoing crisis. Sadly, it only took five years for it to become the new normal. The news is usually full of the efforts of states to keep refugees and migrants out (e.g., Greece over the last couple of weeks) but the many organisations and brave individuals to try to help and to at least hear the stories of displaced people also deserve recognition.

  5. Pete Rogan

    If I haven’t said so before, War Pig, thank you for your service to humanity. It wasn’t easy dealing with those traffickers. I don’t suppose it was possible to “accidentally” leave the seacocks open the next time they shipped out, either.

    Some people are very good at hiding the horrors they went through to get to where they are. I’ve known some, and I really can’t say they were made stronger by the experience. Less ductile, let’s say; not as flexible, with hard surfaces concealed, and woe betide you if you touched them not knowing they were there. It sounds like Tesfay has not been so hardened by his experience. That alone is hopeful.

    Never mind what’s to come. He may find cause to dig up something else he’s kept buried since escaping Eritrea. And this time it could keep him alive. We the readers, though… I think it could be tougher on us.

    Welp, time to get another box of Boston Baked Beans and see if Aitana gets tired of being barfed around when she “flies.”

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