Testimonial nr 516 : Philip ❤️ Frédéric
As an ex employee of a Belgian Airline I met my boyfriend on one of my many workrelated layovers in Senegal, now more then 2 years ago.
So it’s unnecessary to say that we have met more then 45 days.
On my days off I flew many times to see him in Dakar. I have all the passportstamps on my leisure trips as proof. My duty related stops in Dakar I dont have the stamps as we arrive as crew and pass immigration another way.And the last times we flew to Gambia, a neighbour country of Senegal.
We did this for different reasons: so that Philip could meet me in a different environment but also because the local people started to have doubts about us being in a relationship. So all the time we had to be and act very discret. I don’t have to explain that an Interracial Relationship with people of the same sex in a Muslim African country is still a very big taboo!
I can count myself “lucky” to say that I saw my boyfriend the last time right before the pandemic began. I left him on march 3 in Banjul.
Unnecessary to say that since then I haven’t seen, felt or touched him. And yes, this has a very big toll on our lives.
When the news came out that “Love doesnt know borders” we both were very happy. And I started planning to go and see him.
Little later when the “rules” came out, confusion hit us all!
Was I allowed to travel there or was he allowed to travel here?
I started to contact DVZ and BUZA to get the correct answers.
If Philip was to come here, as we met upon all requirements asked, he could apply for a visum.
When looking into this, they ask for a “return garantee” and there, for us, there lays a big problem. As Philip, being a Nigerian stranded in Senegal, facing a lot of discrimination himself, doesn’t have a job, family or properties overthere, it would be impossible to give this garantee. A return ticket is not considered as a garantee.
At DVZ they advised me to write a personal email to the embassy in Dakar to explain our situation.
That maybe, in these desperate times, there would be a little more empathy.
I really took the time to write a personal mail, adressed directly to the ambassador, to explain everything about our relationship: how we met, where we met, how many times and that the only thing we wanted rightnow was, to see and hold each other again after months of absence.
But unfortunately the reply I got from the embassy was a copy paste message that can be found anywhere online with requirements to apply for visa.
Needless to say that we both felt “let down” by our government who believes, as they say “love does’t know borders” but in reality doesnt really care about people in our situation. They all go home in the evening to see their partner at home but myself can only dream that this, one day, will become reality for me/us aswell.
Philip 🇬🇭 ❤️ Frédéric 🇧🇪 187 days ... and counting - Frédéric Claus