What Matters Most is Family
I am so happy my family was there to help me reintegrate back into my community, and for all the love they showed me upon my return.
My name is Ebrima Sambou. I am a Gambian who is 42 years old, married to a beautiful wife and have three kids. I left my country on 15 May 2015, to take the back way to Europe through Libya, hoping that I would find a better life than the one I am living here in The Gambia.
I was convinced by my peers that taking this journey would be good for me. A friend of mine left and found himself in Europe. He kept calling me and asking me to join him, telling me he was living a better life.
My own experience on the journey was different because I suffered a lot on the journey. Soon after arriving in Libya, I realized my friend had lied to me. When I was about to cross the sea to get to Europe, I was arrested and put in prison for one year and three months. I started thinking that I should come home to my family.
I finally had the chance to call my family back home after not being able to communicate with them for over a year. My family told me to accept the offer to return home. They missed me so much, and even thought I died when they couldn’t contact me.
Finally, this was how my two-year irregular migration journey ended. When I came home, most other returnees faced some discrimination from family members. Luckily for me, my parents, siblings, wife and kids were very happy to see me again. People from my community were visiting me, and I was welcomed back with open arms.
One of my fellow returnees was not as fortunate. When they came back, they were stigmatized and discriminated against, which led to them having mental health challenges. I am so happy my family was there to help me reintegrate back into my community, and for all the love they showed me upon my return. This has also helped my community to embrace me as one of their own.