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Kenneth, Oeganda

“My story is about second opportunities. As a late teenager in Uganda, I always had a backpack ready with my passport, a clean t-shirt, my Bible and a bottle of water. My dad had taken off on a plane to the US years earlier and I had an obsession with travel ever since. I also wanted to fly. So yes, all my life I had the feeling that my life had to take place outside Uganda.”

“In Kampala, our capital, I was only concerned with partying and reckless behavior. The urge to leave had something to do with that too. Via via I was able to get a Schengen visa for Germany in 2009. Once there, I immediately traveled to my brother who lived in The Hague. There I applied for political asylum. Even though I knew I didn't stand a chance."

“Only after two years living in an asylum seekers’ center, my request was rejected. Since I did not want to sign the papers that formalized my deportation, I ended up in prison in Zeist for ten months. And there it happened.”

Kenneth smiles. “Maybe you should post a smaller photo this week, so you can add more text!” “With your story, that's definitely necessary,” I joke back. “But what exactly happened then?”

“In detention I realized that I was always blaming others for everything. I was never responsible myself. My father wasn't there when I was growing up. The government did not cooperate. My mother this, the IND that… I was never wrong, but they were. Until I saw a poster in the hallway of my cell. It read: Everything that has happened in your life has brought you to this point. This is where you need to be right now. I suddenly realized that I alone was responsible for the direction my life had taken. After all the mistakes and the lies – I felt really bad about it. At that time, I promised to always be honest and transparent and to make amends for my wrongdoing with the Dutch community.”

Several years later, Kenneth wrote a book and set up a training program. He also has his own podcast. As a coach, he helps people take responsibility for their actions and live their lives honestly.

“But the best thing is that this period brought me Inge. After my detention I was in the Netherlands for a while. We met at church. I helped the pastor with a weekly workshop, she was doing her master's in African Studies about the evangelical church. She wanted to know everything about me. And I kept my own promise to be completely transparent. And that's how we fell in love.”

“After that, we ended up together in Kampala, where I was able to legally apply for a residence permit this time. I received it and because we had met in Leiden, we also moved back here when we returned. We are happy here together.”

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