There was confusion surrounding my family’s eligibility for resettlement from other refugees, who became jealous for no reason. It was time to prove it.
My eldest daughter Alice, who I’d first met when she was 16, got pregnant when going to school. Her mom was apparently tired of her stubbornness and could not keep her in Sierra Leone anymore. I felt lucky to see and meet this girl. She was difficult but part of our family. Her arrival prompted more questions, but God was behind us.
Fatou Barry, the refugee protection officer, called me for questioning. My answers were salient and convincing. The end product was superb, but The Gambia remained dangerous for me.
There was an urgent call for my family to return to Dakar by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. We always enjoyed the trips, so we looked forward to going. And returning. We did not know why there was so much urgency added to our going to Dakar. I lied at my workplace, telling my editor how my son, Glen, had collapsed overnight and that had left us not sleeping but staying the whole night in hospital; we were referred to Dakar so we were leaving.
My boss, Pap Saine, was quite gullible for a journalist, easily manipulated. He asked us to leave in time before it was late! We left with the collection of our travel documents from Gambia Immigration. My going through immigration was somewhat more controversial than one may think. I was always given a hard time. I was there and I went to see Sergeant Ceesay, who was the focus person for refugees. He had already known me so I thought it was going to be easy.
He checked his file and said he did not find my name for traveling.
Read Augustine’s latest installment, Suspicion and Senegal Visits, or scroll down to follow his incredible journey from the start.