It was only after several tries for a resettlement interview that I was finally in line for one. And fortunate at that.
The war was almost over and there was no mass resettlement as there used to be. In fact, it was coming to an end for all Sierra Leonean refugees living in The Gambia. We wept as our hopes were nearly dashed. The challenges were too many, which made many refugees give up. People resorted to any means. Some Nigerians acquired Sierra Leonean passports to see them out of Africa. It was concerning, so I decided to dig into the story, which I’d first thought would call the authorities to action. But who cared? It fell on deaf ears because some authorities gained a lot from it.
The confusion in The Gambia among refugees was overwhelming. Some felt left behind. Many had loved ones already resettled to the United States. Refugees were asked to live in the camp in Basse town [Basse Santa Su] if they wanted resettlement. Many stayed there in the hardest of life. The sun was excruciating, and the poverty level appalling and difficult for those who lived on handouts, handouts that were offered in town and reduced to scraps before refugees would get a share. I could not stay in this camp.
Many thought of returning home, but there was no money for their return and they had nowhere to return to, especially those whose houses were destroyed. The Gambia became unbearable and life was never as it used to be. I knelt and prayed for the will of God to be done in my life and for my family.