Sunday, February 25, 2024

‘The Journey’ – Lamin Sonko explores terrifying experience on perilous journey to Europe 

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By: Dawda Baldeh

Lamin Sonko is a young man from Bakoteh in the Kanifing Municipality. In the search for greener pastures, teenager Lamin in October 2015 left his family together with young friends to embarked on a perilous journey to Europe. In the said journey, Sonko experienced traumatic situations which he did not imagine would befall him.

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Lamin Sonko is now a 24-year-old young man. He authored a book titled “The Journey” in which he explores the terrifying experience of his journey to Europe with his girlfriend Elena Ramon.

Like many others, Sonko left the country for Europe in search of greener pastures. He said he wanted to help his family, noting that chances were very limited back home.

In an exclusive interview with The Fatu Network, Sonko said his inspiration to write the book was drawn from his experience during the perilous journey. He further noted that he decided to put such experience on paper as a learning tool for others.

At first, Sonko’s book was used as a project in a designing school, and after getting impressive and motivational feedback from the school, he then decided to go ahead and print it.

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“I have seen many innocent souls wasted for no reason in the journey. From Senegal to Libya, I have been into some terrifying situations such as kidnaping and imprisonment.

I have seen dead bodies, I witnessed people killing people. I was imprisoned for two months. These are things I never imagined in my life,” Sonko told TFN.

He said his experience triggered his spirit to write the book to share his life experiences so that people back home will know what their brothers and sisters are facing in the journey trying to reach Europe.

The book contained designs and symbols representing different meanings. The illustration was done by Sonko’s girlfriend Elena Ramon.

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“After encountering many challenges on my journey, I decided to write a book so that others will learn from it and know the reality on the ground,” the author said.

When asked about the challenges he faced in the process of writing the book, Sonko said, “I don’t have much difficulties apart from the printing because that cost a lot of money and required a long process.”

‘The Journey’ is a book written in different languages including English, Spanish and Catalan. The author said plans are underway to have the book in Italian too.

“The book has gained some momentum because people see themselves in it. I have sold many copies,” Sonko added.

The young Gambian migrant mentioned that his aim is to make sure the book reaches a wider coverage so that others will learn.

“When the book was printed, my girlfriend presented it to a library called Pan Africanism in Barcelona, Spain. They promised to make many copies but due to some reasons, the library was later closed,” he narrated.

Lamin Sonko is an irregular migrant who started his journey to Europe at the age of 16 and he now works as an intercultural mediator.

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