Persecuted for his political activism, Emmanuel Mbolela left the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2002. His search for a new home would take six years.
In that time, Mbolela endured corrupt customs officials, duplicitous smugglers, Saharan ambushes, and untenable living conditions. Yet his account relates not only the storms of his long journey but also the periods of calm. Faced with privation, he finds comfort in a migrants’ hideout overseen by community leaders at once paternal and mercenary. When he finally reaches Morocco, he finds himself stranded for almost four years. And yet he perseveres in his search for the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees―which always seem to have closed indefinitely just before Mbolela’s arrival in a given city―because it is there that a migrant might receive an asylum seeker’s official certificates.