There are more and more Gambians who choose for happiness abroad. Searching for freedom, work and for their idea a better life. Part of the family stays behind in their own country. Sometimes pride and have hope that the family members who left will share the wealth. But often they feel the sadness of the loss, the uncertainty and the loneliness. But they also have to deal with the feeling of shame that their family is abandoning the homeland, and so opt for his individualistic gain. Many young men see this illegal immigration as the only way to do something for their poor family. This illegal journey is a taboo, but every family has his sacrifices. In the small Republic of The Gambia everyone knows someone who has left the country along this illegal way. There are success stories, but unfortunately it often happens that family’s never hear from their loved ones again. Where are they? What happened?
The stories of those who have stayed behind are perceived as true torture. Are their loved ones lost in the desert during the trip or are they drowned in the sea? Or are they imprisoned, tortured and used for exploitation? Besides the uncertainty and the lack of their loved ones, problems also arise. They sold ground to pay
the illegal trip. So there is less land for growing crops. Less crop means less food and less income, and therefore more dependent on others. And who cares for the elderly when their children are gone? Gambia, a small Republic in Africa. There is poverty. Until recently, people lived under strict dictatorship. The country has no valuable resources, there is high unemployment. Access to internet and social media makes the difference between a poor Third World country and the rich West visible wat contributes that the desire for change and improvement in such a poor country grows. Often the background of the migrant is not clear. Is it sharp? Or is there something between, so we see it less sharply? Do we see what happens? A portrait serie of people who left behind photography by Ilse Jutstra