Illegal Dreams

An immigrant's quest for a better life and the desperate passion to make the dream a reality

by Joel Mwangi

**They had to travel abroad by hook or by crook; they bribed and corrupted, swam and stowed, prostituted and defrauded – but travel they had to.**

Like most other illegal immigrants who escape frustration, war, hunger, poverty, they are prisoners in a cycle of mediocrity perpetuated by governments that don’t perform. The drudgery at home is too much to bear. Lured by prospects of luxury and abundance only seen in films, they land in Britain and elsewhere by whatever means. Without a second thought, some will hang from an aircraft’s undercarriage if it comes to that. But soon they realise that their chase for happiness in the purported land of riches is a chase for waterfalls. What they thought was a big break is a mirage. The checks are mainly all in place to stop their kind. Returning home is out of the question – especially not empty handed; it would be a disgrace, a scandal. Only losers returned poor from Europe, America and other developed countries. Staying is none the easier. They have to keep ducking into alleys every time they spot a cop. But survive they must. For those in the UK, having a colonial connection with Britain, they are all the Queen’s abandoned children and they’ll hang around home if only to get the crumbs falling from her table.

Illegal Dreams is a story of man’s inherent pursuit of happiness. It tells of immigrants’ shattered dreams, their hopes and fears, their frustrations, their survival tactics round the various checks and authorities, taking advantage of gaping holes in the system. The story also tells of the social conflicts and racial tensions that sometimes bare their ugly fangs.