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North to Paradise: A Memoir (English Edition) Kindle电子书
The inspiring true story of one man’s treacherous boyhood journey from a rural village in Ghana to the streets of Barcelona—and the path that led him home.
Ousman Umar is a shaman’s son born in a small village in Ghana. Though his mother died giving birth, he spent a contented childhood working the fields, setting traps in the jungle, and living off the land. Still, as strange and wondrous flying machines crisscrossed the skies overhead, Ousman dreamed of a different life. And so, when he was only twelve years old, he left his village and began what would be a five-year journey to Europe.
Every step of the way, as he traveled across the Sahara desert, through the daunting metropolises of Accra, Tripoli, Benghazi, and Casablanca, and over the sea aboard a packed migrant dinghy, Ousman was handed off like merchandise by a loose network of smugglers and in the constant, foreboding company of “sinkers”: other migrants who found themselves penniless and alone on their way north, unable to continue onward or return home.
But on a path rife with violence, exploitation, and racism, Ousman also encountered friendship, generosity, and hope. North to Paradise is a visceral true story about the stark realities of life along the most dangerous migrant route across Africa; it is also a portrait of extraordinary resilience in the face of unimaginable challenges, the beauty of kindness in strangers, and the power of giving back.
- ASIN : B094JM3PDB
- 出版社 : Amazon Crossing (2022年3月1日)
- 出版日期 : 2022年3月1日
- 语言 : 英语
- 文件大小 : 33132 KB
- 标准语音朗读 : 已启用
- X-Ray : 已启用
- 生词提示功能 : 已启用
- 纸书页数 : 159页
- > ISBN : 1542030137
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As I read this one young migrant's journey (a very circuitous route indeed), I was struck by one overwhelming thought: Why didn't he just stay home?
On the one hand, everyone deserves to dream of a better life.
On the other hand, by his own words, his life was just fine where he was. He grew up in a village in Ghana. At the absurdly young age of 9, he was sent to a nearby city to apprentice. As his street smarts develop, he bounces from job to job, always intermittently visiting home. Finally, his father informs him that it is time to settle down at home; a marriage has been arranged.
The obscene working conditions as a child are barely detailed, and if he were fleeing a harrowing existence, I would view this story differently. But he is not running away from something but rather towards something. If he were running not from Ghana to Europe but from a country south of our border into this country, you would say he was chasing the American Dream.
The author faces difficulties at every turn. Many die along his route. It is worth asking: Was this journey worth it? For him? For them? Not everyone made it.
The Western World can not absorb the people from the entire rest of the world. The answer is not, and never will be, for the population of the planet to try to cram itself into the most industrialized countries. The solution is to lift every country and give opportunity to everyone, not for young men to flee their native lands because they want what they see on television and in the movies. (His words, not mine.) How much better off would Ghana have been if this young man had used his ingenuity to work towards improving his own country?
In the end, the foolhardiness of this unnecessary journey very much colored my reading of this book as it traveled with me through every page.
Like the structure, many of the overarching themes are underdeveloped. They enter the plot abruptly and with arrogance, and leave the discussion just as quickly. Overall, the tone feels like an outline or the first draft of a better book. This half-baked nature is a real shame as the story is so impactful. The merits of the adventure are what carried me through, and not the written words that are contained between the covers of North to Paradise.
Last, but certainly not least offensive were the handful of what appeared to be editorial comments inserted within the story. I refer to these moments as insertions because they do not match the context or content of the book where they occur, and they are always political in nature. Perhaps I am wrong, and Ousman's original manuscript contains this commentary, but if that is the case then his political agenda is in need of elaboration just like the rest of the book. However, my impression while reading was that these were the translator's opinions seeping into the work. Either way, this is just another example of how poorly the story in North to Paradise is represented by its writing.
Regardless of the many shortcomings of this book, I would still recommend it because of Ousman Umar's inspirational experiences as an immigrant. North to Paradise is a good story that deserved better.
Yet the memoir is a surprisingly hopeful one. The narration of the author, Ousman Umar, is straightforward and honest, though he never seeks to heighten the drama of those four years. The events that occur simply speak for themselves, profoundly. Throughout Ousman finds hope in the smallest kindnesses and maintains an optimism that astonishes the reader. He claims that he had no choice but to continue whenever he suffered a setback, but the reader knows better, since so many of his friends and acquaintances gave up, or worse.
I urge you to read this powerful story. Another reviewer said that he was humbled by his reading of North to Paradise. I was humbled as well. You will be too.