[QODLink]
Surprising Europe
Ssuuna Golooba
'Job is everything in Europe, job is the house, job is the food, so if you don't have a job, you are a dead person.'
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2011 14:25

Staring at pictures of other Ugandans grinning in front of large houses with new cars parked outside, Ssuuna Golooba, a Ugandan photo-journalist, grew up with the image of an idyllic European life for African immigrants. Seeing pictures of other people who looked like him making their fortunes in Europe finally led Golooba to the Netherlands.

However, soon after arriving, Golooba would come to realise that those were pictures of other people's houses with other people's cars parked outside - they belonged to the Europeans, while the Africans, like Golooba, toiled as the people cleaning those houses and washing those cars.

Leaving behind his family, including his six-year-old daughter, Golooba finally headed out to chase the promise of a better future in Europe.

But rather than the large house he had seen in countless pictures, Golooba found himself living in a cellar. Without the proper documentation, Golooba had to turn to cleaning houses for his meagre income.

Golooba wanted to return to Africa soon after arriving, but the debt he had incurred in order to get to the western European nation along with his responsibilities as the eldest son of the family kept him, like the countless other Africans whose pictures Golooba had grown up with, from telling his family the truth and returning to Uganda.

A 2005 fire at Schiphol Airport, in which 11 undocumented people died, was Golooba's breaking point. Realising that he could have easily been one of those 11 people in detention at the airport, he returned to Uganda to warn other Africans about the hardships and discrimination that would take the place of the European dream they had all heard stories and seen pictures of.

 

Surprising Europe can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Monday: 2230; Tuesday: 0930; Wednesday: 0330; Thursday: 1630.

Click here for more on Surprising Europe.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
join our mailing list