The Gambians’ failed to achieve what they wanted in China. Yet, they didn’t let go of their dream to make a living abroad.
My target is Europe. They want you to frustrate. If I go to them and sit down, everybody will talk bad about me when I leave. Someone said to my face that we are a failure. We went to China and came back with an empty hand. This is why I have to plan and go to a safer place. I don’t want frustration.
Emigration is seen as a means both to become a social adult, fulfilling expectations that men take financially care of family members and obtain the means to marry and have children.
Here, you can sit down for a whole day, you will not have a single thing to do. If I go to Europe, I can at least help my family. That’s why I am not married, I don’t want this situation where I cannot take care of my wife and children. Later he talks about how he does not want to have a big family, just one wife and a few children so that he can feed them well, give them an education, and so on. People are pushing me to go and marry. I say no, I have to stand firmly before I marry.
The experiences in China have not deterred the Gambians from trying to migrate again.
Rather, a Chinese visa in the passport and a proven ability to withstand hardship are seen as assets in a future migration project.
Having the visa for China is a help. Your passport is no longer a virgin passport.
I can cope with difficult situations. […] Now I have the three visas in my passport, for China, Thailand, and Dubai. When I was in Dubai on my way back, I called people and told them I was in Dubai. They encouraged me to stay there, but I only had a four day visas and I wanted to return to Gambia. I count myself lucky because I have the three visas. I am prepared right now because I have travelling experience, I can go abroad to study.
Europe is regarded as an easier continent to live in than Asia:
We Africans give the Chinese stay and buy their goods. And they deny us visa. They treat us like animals. We buy 95% of their goods. In Europe they give us asylum and support us to live. One good European is better than 100 good Chinese. The Europeans sponsor our education. I will go to Europe again. One way or another.
Although return migrants form Asia have first-hand experience of not being trusted when they tell people about the hardships they have endurerd, many think migrants in Europe exaggerate when they say life is difficult there – possibly because they have ulterior motives.
People in Europe always tell you that life there is not easy. That it’s hard. But you think they fool you. The quality of the European money is different. If you have one Euro, it is much stronger than Dalasi. Only some people know what life in Europe is like. You earn Euro, and you come back and spend it here, on a compound, on a car. In Europe, you may be poor, but you are rich here. […]
Some people will not help others to come to Europe because they do not want their brother to know the life they are living there, what they are doing there.
Am Gambian 26 years old, I went to China because I was fooled by my fellow Gambian who I thought was a honest man when I met him. He is a visa dealer working with a Nigerian, he told me untrue story about China. I am a businessman in banjul selling ladies fashion. So I met this Gambian man in the market he was so friendly to me, we chat every time we met. One day he told me that he is a visa dealer, and can pull out Chinese visa for me, He told me that China is a good country to find a good job and I can make a lot of money in less than a year, he told me many untrue stories about China. I believe him because he was so nice to me……. I thought it was a great idea because am from a poor family and my only dream in life is to help my family to have a better life………..
I finished high school in 2010 with good grades, I did not have a scholarship or sponsorship, my parents told me to find a job because they can’t pay my college tuition.
I started working with my uncle in his shop in Banjul, I save money he pays me every month in the bank for four good years, That’s the money I used to go to China. I pay 25,000 Gambian dalasis for the visa fee, the fly ticket cost me 60,000 Gambian dalasis and the rest I used it for pocket money. It’s the worst decision I have ever made in my life. I went to China with only one month visa,it was so tough to me, food and apartment is so costy that I spend all my pocket money. I decided to go to Hong Kong, l bought a bus ticket I went up to Hong Kong and China border but was rejected. I decided to go back to my country because China is not good for immigrants, police are everywhere and if you are caught when your visa is expired you will go to jail, the next thing they will do is to charge you for overstaying in their country then they will deport you…….
MY ADVICE FOR MY FELLOW GAMBIAN YOUTHS IS THAT IF YOU ARE THINKING OF TRAVELLING TO CHINA TO FIND JOB THINK TWICE BECAUSE VISA DEALERS WILL NOT TELL YOU THE TRUTH, THE ONLY THING THEY ARE AFTER IS YOUR MONEY, THEY DON’T CARE WERE YOU GET THE MONEY OR HOW YOU GET IT……