Stay home and work, says former migrant AhmedPhoto | Ahmed Muse Omar at Afgoye livestock market/Maxamed Cabdi/Ergo
(ERGO) - Ahmed Muse Omar, 24, decided five years ago to migrate to Saudi Arabia in search of what he anticipated would be a better life.
He had been working since the age of 13 in Afgoye’s livestock market, driving the animals that had just been sold. He used the money he had earned in the market together with some funds from his mother, who had raised her four children on the small income from hawking vegetables.
Ahmed and his family dreamed that he would find a bright future overseas and would be able to support the family.
The life of a migrant turned out to be miserable, however, and Ahmed returned to Somalia determined to make a better living for himself at home.
In January, Ahmed called Radio Ergo’s listener feedback phone line and left a message saying he wanted to tell his full story, hoping to deter other young people from copying his mistakes.
Radio Ergo’s local reporter in Afgoye went to meet him to interview him.
Ahmed told Radio Ergo how he made the dangerous sea crossing to Yemen by boat and made his way illegally into Saudi Arabia. He got a casual job painting gates at a welding workshop.
But he was constantly being harassed by the authorities and lived in fear of arrest and mistreatment as he had no legal documents to work in the country.
“I truly learnt what freedom means,” he told Radio Ergo. “In Somalia, no one asks where you are from and where you are going but in Saudi Arabia I lived under a constant fear.”
Eventually he was seized by the authorities one day on his way to work. He spent three days in detention in a police cell, before being deported to Somalia.
Ahmed arrived back at home a changed man, more mature and with a vision of how he was going to live from now on.
He set himself up in business, buying buys goats from Daafeed in Lower Shabelle and selling them at the livestock market in Afgoye on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays. He is doing quite well and on an average day makes a net profit of about around $55.
“I realized I had better stay in my country because I was so disappointed by the life and experiences that happened to me on that desperate journey abroad. Now, I am a man who works and earns a living in his own country, by selling livestock. I am satisfied with my work and I can feed and support myself,” he said.
Ahmed recommends his fellow Somalis, especially the youth, to stay put in Somalia no matter what. “I would advise my compatriots to look for work in their own country and to continue living here,” he said. “There are so many opportunities inside Somalia and it is even possible to start a business here.”