After soccer star risked all for Europe, Gambia still wrestles with why she left

The Christian Science Monitor | December 27, 2017

Last October, when Fatim Jawara was 19, the star of Gambia's women's national soccer team quietly made a choice. She told her family and teammates she was going to play for a while with a team in neighboring Senegal. Then, with a friend, she set out on what Gambians euphemistically call “the back way” – a treacherous migrant route across West Africa and Libya, and then the Mediterranean Sea.


Refugee Runners: The Olympics Fields its First Team Without a Country

The Christian Science Monitor | June 2, 2016

This August, when the 205 country delegations march into Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Games, the procession will also be joined by a very different kind of Olympic team. For the first time in history, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is fielding a small team of refugees – between five and 10 athletes who will represent not a country, but all those without one.

Melinda Josie / The New York Times

Melinda Josie / The New York Times

Standing Watch Over a New Life

The New York Times Magazine | November 24, 2015

Before I came to South Africa, I was at a refugee camp in Mozambique for six months. From that camp you could see a certain mountain. The shape of it was like a woman lying down. People there told me that if you go beyond that mountain, you’re in South Africa. They said it was a place where they take care of refugees. In South Africa, I heard, you could have a regular job and a regular life.

What they didn’t say was that to officially become a refugee in South Africa, you must go to the immigration office every day and wait in a line that never moves. You must sleep there, with newspapers for blankets, so that you don’t lose your spot. They also didn’t say that even when you have papers, the only jobs you can get are the ones South Africans don’t want.

See more: on looking for legal status from Asmara to Tel Aviv to Kampala, on Swagger, Confidence, and the stories Zimbabwean migrants tell with their unusual names, and on the undertow of xenophobia in South Africa and its origins