Enter your Username and Password
Fill the given fields for singing up
However, as the saying goes that ‘fear can overtake a brave man’ it came true upon me that I cried on the day of my departure. I just imagined how I was going to leave my lovely daughter, relatives and friends for years and then I shed tears. Someone could say that they were tears of joy but for God’s sake they were tears of agony.
On the morning of my departure, my family members organized a farewell party for me, and a small service to thank God for the visa and to ask him for the protection and guidance in Europe. We gathered at my mother’s house where nearly all my family members and friends came. On the party they roasted three chickens. Everyone was in a good mood and excited. They gave my wife and me a warm welcome when we entered my mother’s house. Everyone wanted to talk to me and wish me good luck and others were asking for gifts when I would come back. Some of them gave me their photos on which they had written on the back what they needed. For example: one was asking for a new shirt, another for a new sewing machine, a motor, school fees, mobile phone, TV etc. It was such a busy moment that I decided to hide in one of the rooms to wait for the guests to finish their meals and leave.
My wife and I used this time to pack my clothes in a suitcase, which we had bought in Kampala. On the day we bought the suitcase, there was a discussion which type of a suitcase I should buy. My wife thought that the big suitcase would be more likely to cause problems for me at the airport in Europe. She thought the immigration officials would want to see what’s inside and that more questions would be asked: “But if you carry a small suitcase they will think that you’re going to attend a conference for a couple of days and return”, she said. There was also another debate on what I should bring and wear on the day of travelling. I had already written things on a small piece of paper, which I wanted to take with the headline: THINGS THAT MUST GO. I wanted to take fifty photos of my daughter, my wife, my mother, sisters, brothers and other family members.
I also wanted to take my photo camera to use it to take photos in Europe and send back home. I also wanted to take a videotape, which was filmed long ago, and in it, I could see my family members and other people from my village. I had reasoned it in my mind that this simple trip might take me years and years without returning to my people. Therefore, I thought that having all these things with me would make me feel at home.
However, my wife also rejected that idea saying that packing all these things were going to put me in problems at the airport: “I understand you very well but take only two jeans and three shirts. As soon as you settle in Europe, I will send you other things including the photos,” she said while packing. “To look smart, put on your suit. Be a young Ugandan man going to attend a conference and believe me nobody will stop you at the airport,” she said. “I heard that it gets warm in April but if you get there and you find it cold; buy a heavy sweater,” she said.
It was an unhappy moment for both of us. I could see tears in her eyes. I had a lot of questions without answers: Am I losing her? What can I do? After looking at the watch, I saw it was 5.00PM and I had to go to the Airport. At this point, I couldn’t hold back the tears from my eyes either. My mother had also started calling us to go because we were running out of the time. We left my mother’s house holding each other with my suitcase and I said to myself: How will I be without my family and friends?
Family members and some friends in two small buses escorted me to Entebbe airport to bid me farewell. From my back seat of the bus, I saw the second bus in a cloud of dust. For them it was a happy moment but I must say that I was not happy because I had a lot on my mind. I had left my lovely daughter of 5 years old behind at the school and I didn’t say anything to her, I had sold the house and I thought the whole trip was not well organized.
My flight with Kenya airways was scheduled at 8:00PM and I needed to check in at the airport by 6:00PM. It took us one hour to reach the airport because of the traffic jam on our way to Entebbe airport. I had traveled several times to the airport during the time I was working as a Journalist. I used to go to airport to take pictures when head of states arrived, Muslims went to Mecca or any other Ugandan official going out on official duty. I used to pass through the security office and after getting the airport card I would go to tarmac and take my photos. However, I had not had any opportunity to go through immigration. Therefore, I was completely unaware of what someone has to pass through before he can board.
We found a policeman standing at the departure entrance and all my people were stopped: “We only need one person who is going, but others must stay here and watch him through the glass while he is going through the process,” he said. He pointed me to the counter and I followed his directions.
How I came to the Netherlands
Is Europe worth taking the risk? My answer is: ‘NO'!
Suunaa's return to Uganda after 6 years in Europe
Finding the money for the trip to Europe