“I thought about migrating for a long time. Things are not easy here in Ghana. Even if you get a job, the wages are not enough to take care of your family. For seven years, I had tried to save money to build a house, but it wasn’t enough. I believed life would be easier if I found a job abroad. It took almost four years, working at the timber mill and farming, just to pay for the journey. Even then, I didn't have the money to get the proper documentation, and had to travel through the desert. I knew the dangers, but I weighed the options and decided to travel anyway.
I traveled to Niger, where I found a connection man for a seat in a pickup truck to Libya. There were 26 of us sitting in the back of the truck and at that point I really regretted my decision. We traveled for 12 days through the desert until we reached Libya. It was a journey fraught with difficulties.
On the way, one of my fellow passengers was left behind in the desert when the driver discovered he had not paid. At one point, we didn’t have any water for two days. I saw the stones marking the graves of those who couldn't make it across desert. We met others on the way who were stranded, left with no money.
In Libya, our car hit a rock and the truck somersaulted several times. I dislocated my right shoulder. With the help of some Ghanaians in Libya, I received some basic first aid. I was so scared of being deported, I refused to go to the hospital. But because my injury never healed properly, I was unable to work the three months I was in Libya. I was able to use the small savings I had left to survive there, but I hadn’t enough to return home; I had to rely on the help of Ghanaians in Libya once more.
Of course I am happy to be alive, but it was my dream to work hard and save money for my family - so when our truck crashed, all my dreams crashed.
Once back in Ghana, my wife divorced me because of my disability. I was unable to support my three children. My daughter had to drop out of school and soon after became pregnant. I needed extensive medical treatment and had to visit many specialists. Now, I maintain the borehole for the Catholic Church.
Seventeen years later, I still spend a lot of money on medicine. When people come to me for advice on migrating, I advise them to stay here. It's very risky, do not make this dangerous journey - invest in Ghana.”