Youth, 20, suspends 'back way' in favour of Gambia stay

“I realised life is far too precious,” he claimed. “I didn’t want to risk all and eventually die trying. Truth be told, I was afraid I was going to die on the journey.”

The only son of a mother of three, Wuyeh lost both of his parents. His father died when he was very young, and his mother, also passed two years ago.

Born in Pipleline, Wuyeh was taken at an early age to Ginack in Nuimi in the northern part of the country by his mother and left him under the care of his God-mother, who Wuyeh said is now over 80 years old. He spent more than 16 years in Ginack before relocating to Bakau and then to Pipeline again in search of greener pasture.

“I came back here with big hope and it was not long before I secured a path-time voluntary job in the tourist development area of Bakau.”

Unfortunately for him, the grass was not greener their as he anticipated. “So after almost two years I decided I should look for a better job.” Because Wuyeh was not very bright in Upper Basic School, he couldn’t secure high school learning.

“I tried hard. I tried very, very hard to find another, much better job. It didn’t work out,” he said.

It was then that Wuyeh said he started gathering money for the perilous back way. “It took me more than a year before I was able to put the cash together. With help from close relatives and a few friends, I was ready for the journey. One of my closest friends made it to Italy already. I was in contact with him. He explained the whole thing to me. I am now ready. But as the departure day came closer, I started having mixed feelings. Usually when I have such feelings it always turns out I am right. Two days after saying my goodbyes, I returned home again.

”My God-mother asked, ‘Where have you been? I looked everywhere for you?’ I didn’t tell her about the journey. I wasn’t sure she could take it. Some of my friends who knew, called me a ‘coward.’ Maybe they are right, but I wasn’t ready to die. I believe something terrible would have happened. It is just a feeling. And so I canceled the trip”

For now, though, the poor orphan said he is back at the industry, doing the voluntary job again as a batik seller. He said he has now come to the conclusion that a ‘man must accept his destiny which Allah has set for him or be damaged by it.’

Since he is not good with books and pencils, Wuyeh said he is willing to learn any decent skills development training in order to sustain himself.

He implored young people to “stay back and be patient” while reminding them that after the storm comes the rain.

Young Wuyeh now lives in his Aunty’s home in a family compound in Pipeline.

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