My name is Abou. I am 33 years old and I am from Côte d'Ivoire. I've been in Niger for nine months. I wanted to reach France. I went to Algeria via Mali. It didn't work out, and I ended up in Niger. Since then, I'm impatient to return to my country and my former activities.
I often talk to Seydou (psychologist at the transit centre), and we also do many drawing sessions. We talk about my relatives, the reason why I left, my former life. My old life was quite a mess, and there were too many misunderstandings in my marriage. My wife and I split up after eight years of marriage. There were good intentions, but she did not have feelings for me. She cheated on me.
That's one of the reasons why I left. It's actually a mix of many things. There was also a downturn in business, and I lost my job.
I decided to do the adventure to get my mind off it and start anew.
I reflect on feelings through drawings sometimes, and I use them to express myself. I like drawing a lot. It makes me feel good. At the end of the session, I often say what it means. Last time, for example, I drew a crossed-out heart. It means that there is no feeling. So far, there has been no feeling for anyone else.
I'm happy to be going home. I'm going to see my sister. She calls me a lot. I can't wait to return and tell her my story, to have a fresh start for a new life.
I would strongly advise all young people my age not to go on an adventure. It's an experience I wanted to try, but what I saw was very serious, people die, they die a lot.
Abou is staying in the Aigle transit centre in Niamey. After a long search to find his relatives and continued mental health and psychosocial support, he finally had a breakthrough one day and gave the number of his ex-wife, who helped IOM trace his family. The family reunification and the assistance provided to Abou in the transit centre were made possible with support from the European Union's Emergency Trust Fund for Africa through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.