I am a proud black woman from Ghana. This is a beautiful country in Africa. I had heard that in Europe everybody is rich and you could earn a lot of money. So when I turned forty years old, I left my husband and five children behind in Ghana. I went to the Netherlands to earn money so that my family would have a good life. I wanted a better future for them. My name is Gina and this is my story.
Reaching European Shores; A Journey Between Hope and Fear
risking your life to come to Europe by boat
In overcrowded, small boats arranged by human smugglers, people risk their lives to reach Europe. Dayo from Nigeria and Ferhan from Somalia made this dangerous journey by sea. Some of their fellow travellers passed away, but as fortunate survivors they ended up in Malta, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. Dayo doesn't like to recall his trip: 'I don't even want to remember the sea'.
In Uganda people have the mentality that the US and the British embassies are the toughest when it comes to visa applications but for me it was not the case. I had enough knowledge of the visa process and I got a visa for six months to the United Kingdom.
I Made it in Europe! So if I did it, you can do it too
Rapper K-Nel made it in Europe
When I left Kenya, I honestly didn’t think obout having success in Europe. All I had in my mind was my Economics studies and the joy of joining of my mother who was already in Germany. People have the stereotype mentality of Europe being 'heaven'. We used to watch Hollywood movies and all those documentaries about the Western world and one would think "wow, what a place?".
The weather in Europe is what many immigrants really hate
Winter in Holland
I am not easy to surprise. When still a student, and in a few subsequent years, I had seen more than enough of Europe. Once I had even spent a few days in Lapland. I had always been fascinated by snow. It looks so beautiful, doesn’t it? It is very pleasant to look at snow…when you sit in a well-heated apartment, or when you walk outside and wear good winter clothes.
In my last blog I told you how I decided to flee my country because of political reasons. My mother accepted my decision to flee Nigeria but the money wasn’t there to make the travel happen. We eventually decided to sell our family home. This house was sold for around 2,500 euro and with the money I left for the Nigerian Northern State of Kano where I was told I could travel to Europe without threat.
While there are many advantages to Africans leaving the continent or their respective countries to go to Europe or America for work, for many, their real dreams were to go to Europe so they could return home to Africa. Many want to open up business in their homelands, build homes and invest. Africans in the 21st century are not simply looking to go to western lands and remain there, we are looking to come home and be builders of our own destiny.
I am an African multimedia producer/artist living in Holland. When I came here more than ten years ago to study advanced news production using digital technology, some people asked me whether there were any other reggae kings in Africa besides Alpha Blondy? I told them that Africa has many reggae artists but the ‘King of African Reggae’ title is given to Alpha Blondy or Lucky Dube, depending on who you ask. This is my story about trying to realize my dream of becoming one of Africa’s biggest reggae sensations and media golden boy.
High hopes in Europe, real opportunities back home
Opportunities created for diaspora in Africa
Africans migrating to Europe always come with high hopes of making what they call “lots of money” and are rudely awaken by challenges -some unmanageable- that they quickly find themselves either struggling to keep up or fighting opportunist illnesses coming as a result of this unmeasurable stress. Or worse: they fall into depression.
What they call "a success story" of dreaming of home
Is Europe worth taking the risk? My answer is: ‘NO'!
Over and over again, I hear about African people risking their lives to get to Europe. We know the stories of immigrants risking the seas on tiny boats unequipped for the journey, but there are even more dangerous ways to travel. A guy from Angola got into the chassis compartment of an airplane, planning to get to Heathrow. When the wheels came out, 2000 ft. above the ground, he fell to the ground. Of course; he had frozen to death long before due to exposure to high altitudes and low temperatures.
My wife warned me against traveling with a big suitcase
Saying goodbye to the family
I had enough time to organize and prepare for my trip. I knew what was involved and the immediate consequences like missing my family and friends from the start. The trip arrangements involved so many things including looking for money to travel with, buying some stuff, bidding farewell to my people and packing suitcases among others. In all the preparations I was such a joyful person and I was so eager to go to Europe to fulfill my dream of becoming a rich man in society.
I struggled and almost exhausted all means of raising money for my trip but all was in vain. I contacted several people to lend me the money but I never succeeded. I was under too much pressure and the visa dealer was on my neck to pay the balance or else I will lose the $4000 I had deposited in advance. I was stuck until when I realized that I could sell my only house to bail me out. It was not my wish to sell the house but when I realized that when I reach Europe I would make much money to replace it, I went ahead with the plan.
Sometimes there are faster but criminal ways to make money, for instance selling drugs on the streets of Barcelona.
There are many African people who get involved in criminal activities like drugs. Some of them see this as their last option to survive, like the young man in this item. He sells drugs on the streets of Barcelona. But how does did he end up like this?