“I moved to Ireland for better opportunities – to go to college, to get a good job and also to be out of Uganda. I was raised by my dad and grandparents on a farm in a town where everyone knew everyone. I was a 20-year-old looking for an adventure! A chance to get away and discover Europe! I had heard so much about it. I used to watch all the movies. The way it is sold in Africa is almost like an illusion. People sell houses, sell land, quit good jobs because of the dream of going abroad. Europe is portrayed like the American Dream – the land of opportunities, where everybody can have access to education, healthcare, live comfortable lives in pretty neighbourhoods. Watching those programmes and hearing people talking about it, I could not help visioning myself living that life. There was no research on the internet! It was 2002. You had to go to an internet cafe and pay to look at pictures. I never realised the concept of the layers and how much it’d take to get to where I am today. I thought you arrive, you walk out, you grab a job and you make all this money. I had no clue about the immigration system, what it means to be undocumented, how to access housing or what is it like being a black woman in a white country. Nobody tells you that you will share a house with five other housemates, renting a tiny, but very expensive, room and that at times you will have no money for food. They didn’t talk about the challenges of racism, discrimination, the loneliness and the isolation. I was young. It played a big part in how I made it. If I was to do it today, I would’ve probably turned around and left. I was young and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I promised my grandmother that I will send her money. My family, directly or indirectly, were depending on me doing well here. I remember one day I got my wages working in a B&B. It was €193.00. I needed to send all that money home. Right after, I began to think about what will I eat for the rest of the week? I contemplated going home so many times, but when I called my grandmother, I never complained. I told her that it’s amazing here, I’m doing well, the buildings are beautiful the streets are tidy! I am living the dream… I too sold it.”
This post was highlighted by the National Transport Authority, TFI – Transport for Ireland and the Immigrant Council of Ireland to promote the discussion about diversity and inclusivity in Ireland and to bring awareness to their opposition of racism and discrimination of any kind on public transport.