Farrar. Apr. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780374240929. $28. MEMOIR
When Emmanuel Mbolela fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2002 to escape government persecution, he expected to return. Instead, he was forced to make a six-year odyssey through Africa to Morocco. Along the way, he endured dangerous living and traveling conditions. In this memoir, he describes in detail the terror he felt during four years of inactivity in Rabat, Morocco, where he lived in constant danger of being arrested. After several frustrating years in Rabat, he formed the Association of Congolese Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Morocco (ARCOM) and used the power of the group to attract the attention of local NGOs and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to obtain rights and protections for refugees stranded there. Mbolela was finally granted passage to the Netherlands in April 2008, where he continues to work to improve conditions for refugees and migrants. He concludes this English edition with a report on conditions in the DRC, where he finds a glimmer of hope for the future.
VERDICT With this heartfelt account, Mbolela succeeds in humanizing often-forgotten people trying to live a more fruitful and safe existence. A welcome memoir.
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