Reintegration/ Settlement of Returnees

Hope to a Ghanaian returness

This is Musah. Today is a happy day for this young man who has been through many trials and difficulties in life. Musah was born in Savelgu, a small town in the Northern Region of Ghana, he is the elder of two siblings. One day, his father, a farmer passed away. So, he dropped out of school to help his mother on the farm. Some relatives were interested in taking advantage of the poor widow’s fragility and tried to dispossess her of the land. Mother, son, and daughter resisted. Shortly afterwards, they were offered food by a person they thought was a friend. Before sitting down to eat, the mother sent Ahmed on an errand. When Musah returned home, his mother was agonizing because the food had been poisoned. She died after a short time. The teenager Musah and his younger sister became orphans in an environment in which they no longer felt safe and were surrounded by persons they longer trusted.

Musah took his sister away from Savelgu to a remote village where they had other relatives and left her under their care. After that, he chose the road. His journey led him to cross the Sahara Desert to Libya. After jobbing here and there he managed to save enough money to undertake the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea in one of the infamous boats used by people-smugglers. The boat started taking in water. Soon they were sinking. Someone managed to contact the Italian authorities who arrived with a helicopter to salvage those who had not already sunk into the bottom of the Sea. Sharks also arrived on the scene. Musah witnessed the sharks devouring one of his friends whilst he was trying climb the ladder that the rescue team threw from the helicopter. A few more minutes and he would also have been eaten up. Musah was not yet 20 years old, but he was already all too familiar with death.

In Italy, Musah had a difficult time. Being a school dropout, he is illiterate. He found himself cold, hungry, jobless and moneyless. He opted for the Voluntary Reintegration Programme to return to Ghana. His flight to Ghana arrived in the early hours of the morning. He is unfamiliar with the city of Accra, so he could not make his way to the meeting place agreed upon. Musah decided to sleep the rest of the night in the open-air area called Circle in the centre of Accra. The journey must have tired him a great deal. He went into deep sleep only to wake up to the realization that his last 400 euros, his phone and few belongings had been stolen.

He managed to walk the 10 km from Circle to the offices of Amicus Onlus in East Legon, asking for directions and information from anybody willing to help. He arrived hungry, dirty and desperate. First thing was to feed him and to find him a place to stay. Thanks to the coordination of Amicus personnel who are grounded in the communities, a temporary place was found for him. Later, a more permanent place was found for him. After a number of meetings and counselling sessions, Musah decided he wanted to work as motorbike courier. This requires a licence and at least some documents. Being illiterate, he had to be guided through the process. A week ago, he obtained his licence.

Today, Musah received a brand-new motorbike and helmet to start his new life on the road. His main worry is to be able to earn some money to ensure that his sister receives the schooling that he never received. Let’s wish him the very best in this new journey.