Thousands of Africans put their lives at risk as they go on a boat journey in search of what they think would be a better and easier living. It is a journey that begins with hope, but often ends in despair. Most of them depart from Libya late at night, travelling across the Mediterranean Sea in broad streams with Italy as their central destination.Last year, more than 170,000 migrants arrived there, representing the largest influx of people into one country in European Union history.Most of the migrants are Eritrean and Syrian but numerous Africans from sub-Saharan regions also use this route.This year almost 2,000 people have died trying to make this crossing. And the Libyan coast guard intercepts many of the boats transporting illegal immigrants from across Africa to Italy. We travelled off the coast of Libya to meet African migrants risking everything for a future in Europe. Who are they? Where do they come from? And what do they expect to find on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea? Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid meets three young Africans who are in a Libyan detention centre: Patrick Jabbi, 27, from Congo; Baba Lami, 19, from Gambia; and Alima Bakhari, 23, from Nigeria, who was one of the few women on the boat that was boarded by the Libyan coast guard.We find out more as Patrick, Baba and Alima talk to Al Jazeera in the field.