From September 1st 2017, Swansea University student Michael Nyantakyi Oti, embarked on an 888.5 mile journey from Denmark to Swansea. The MA Erasmus Mundus Journalism, Media and Globalisation student decided to make the journey in a bid to highlight the plight of migrants that have been left stranded at Calais, France.
In total, Michael spent 19 days travelling in wet and cold conditions; however unlike many of the deserted migrants in Calais, Michael was lucky enough to travel with two of his fellow students, Stefan Weichart and Sophia Jessen. Beginning in Padborg, the last major town between Denmark and Germany, the group travelled through Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France. From Calais they then took the ferry to Dover, where they continued along the coast to Wales.
The group arrived in Swansea on the 19th of September, however months later, Michael still has strong emotions surrounding the trip, he said: “While I believe it is important that the European authorities do something about their condition, as an African I believe I also must tell other migrants about the appalling conditions at Calais, just in case others have plans of migrating. Others must migrate safely, lest they find themselves stranded in places like Calais, especially after having invested so much time and resources getting to Europe.”
Migration has been a subject of constant worry for humankind and world leaders alike. Ultimately, whilst many are aware of the issues surrounding the Calais 'jungle', they fail to realise that to this day migrants are continuing to arrive, and given the French government 'closure' of the facility, are being left stranded.
Many believe that those migrating illegally should not be thought twice of; however it is important to remember that regardless of the conditions under which they migrated, they are still people in need of help.
Michael wants people to understand that there has to be greater public awareness of the danger facing refugees and migrants when making these journeys, he said: “I am in no way speaking against migration, I am however saying that Africans, middle Easterners and all persons who intend to do it must consider the risks involved.”
“This trip has shown me that Calais is something we need to talk about. I think that it is an aberration on the conscience of people that we allow our fellow human beings to be under the conditions that they are in Calais. We need to have that conversation.”
- Tuesday 19 December 2017 23.59 GMT
- Wednesday 6 December 2017 08.47 GMT
- Ffion White