Migration History: Placide

Placide is a small sickly young man of 16. He is small for his age, very listless and evidently not in full health. Unlike the majority of my other interviewees, his experience of labour migration to Abeokuta was very negative. He migrated when he was 14. He had been an apprentice mechanic for four months beforehand, but when his boss asked for some money from his parents and they were unable to pay it, his apprenticeship ended. This was when a fellow villager suggested that he go with him to Nigeria to make the money necessary, which Placide accordingly did at the behest of his father who thought it would be best.

Before long, however, the work overcame Placide and he fell ill. For six months, his patron took care of him. But since his condition never improved, the patron brought him home to his parents. Eventually, when he healed, the same patron came to ask him to come back and work with him. But Placide refused, claiming that the man had lied about how difficult the working conditions actually were. Placide’s father supported his refusal, and so Placide now works in the fields with him. He has not gone back to work as a mechanic.

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