I am originally from The Gambia (In western Africa) where I practiced journalism. My writings brought me a lot of trouble as I was arrested and tortured by state security agents on several occasions. One day, my name was listed as a target for killing by the regime and I had to immediately embark on an escape journey. I have recently published a book, Africa’s Hell on Earth, chronicling my escape journey.
When I came to Rhode Island in May 2007, I felt reborn. It was a new world for me in many ways: I had just arrived in the United States; I never heard the name Rhode Island until a day before my arrival; I was brought in by the United States government as a refugee which means I did not prepare for my coming. It happened abruptly.
I also did not have family or friends. It was not easy. I had to start everything about my life from scratch. I therefore found a lot of meaning in altruism and education. I enrolled in school, and started an advocacy group of fellow refugees creating awareness about better resettlement methods and housing placements.
My advocacy brought me into contact with Dr. Richard Mollica of Harvard University, the pioneer of the Global Mental Health movement. I was given a scholarship to undergo a six-month program in GMH-Trauma and Recovery at the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. Then I was given a scholarship opportunity to enroll at MSPP as a means of continuing my studies in the GMH field. I find myself lucky to be availed with all these opportunities. Despite all the things I have gone through, I envision light at the end of the tunnel. I love the GMH program and the MSPP campus and learning environment – the faculty, students, and staff are all excellent resources. I therefore thank everyone who is supporting me through this journey.