IMRC Intern, Bassie Kargbo, sends regular dispatches from Ghana, where he is placed with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The IMRC coordinates internships with the IOM as the result of an ongoing partnership, to ensure our students from Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs can experience the roles and responsibilities of being practitioners in the field.

Dispatch 04: 2013-11-26, Bassie Kargbo, IOM Accra, Ghana

I had another interesting encounter yesterday with one refugee. She is 18 years old and has a son 4 years old. According to my calculation she became pregnant at 13 years old. The sad thing was that she lost her mom a few years after they arrived in Ghana. She said the father was in Liberia and that is her reason for going back. This is an interesting story that I so desire to follow. Please see the picture attached of her and her son. I learn new stories each time I go back to the camp!

[Photo to come.]

Dispatch 03: 2013-11-20, Bassie Kargbo, IOM Accra, Ghana

Today we went to the airport to repatriate a group of Liberian refugees. Please see the pictures attached.

We will be visiting the camp to do other registration tomorrow. There is one Liberian refugee story that touched me so much and I am trying to follow this story. A teenage girl told me her aunt took her from Liberia in 2012 with the promise that they would travel to the US. After several months nothing happened, and her aunt left for Liberia and never came back, leaving her stranded. I asked her how she was surviving, but there was fear of mentioning prostitution. I never introduced myself to her and I fear that things might go wrong, but I will do so on our visit tomorrow with the hope she will tell her entire story.

She is asking for repatriation because she is stranded here. I am working on her case with one of her friends of the same age. It’s challenging here, but I am learning many things.

[Photos to come.]

Dispatch 02: 2013-11-04, Bassie Kargbo, IOM Accra, Ghana

Please find pictures of Liberian refugee mothers signing up for repatriation. One young IOM worker asked me today about refugee life. After I explained to her my experience and ordeal, she came to realize how tough it is and became so sympathetic to many of the pregnant and motherly refugees.

Sometimes we wonder why many female refugees ended up as sex workers. Is it their fault or was it due to circumstances beyond their control? Many didn’t have the opportunity to go to school before the war, and now as refugees the disadvantage continues because of the many obstacles surrounding the refugee life.

The attached pictures are a few of the women who finally succeeded. For some, I took their pictures with the hope of persuading the leader to register them. All the experiences I am gaining at this time reminds me about my struggles as a refugee 8 to 10 years ago. Even though it was so overwhelming, I now have joy knowing that I am no longer part of the struggle and now trying to help the unfortunate ones. Every night I just wish a miracle will occur and have some of them sponsored for a better life in the west.

[Photos to come.]

Dispatch 01: 2013-10-29, Bassie Kargbo, IOM Accra, Ghana

This is my second week and just want to let you know that the work environment is wonderful. I am with a team of workers that are so friendly, loving and caring. Apart from leaving my family behind, life here is good so far.

On Sunday, I went to the airport to help on the repatriation of 53 Liberian refugees that wanted to go back. It was a sad moment to see families going back with failed hopes of going to the west. Find attached pictures. I’ve finished my orientation and have learned much about the different operating system with the IOM office.

On Thursday, we are heading to the refugee camp to see what’s out there. I will keep you updated on that. So far, I have learned a lot on the issue of migration, and working with IOM Accra has created a lasting impact in my life. There is more to explore in the next weeks and months to come. The research project is still yet to start. We have to set the plan from scratch and I am sure it’s going to be challenging.

Finally, I want to say my thanks and appreciation once again for your effort in making this happen.