This is
Ya-Isha Cham (1997) 

Lives in


Country of origin


In the Netherlands since





My family. The warmth. Not only the warmth in terms of  temperature, but also the hospitality, the warmth of the people. You never have to call if you want to join dinner. My father buys for 2 sheeps for my family in Afrika. One for the family en one for my grandma, who shares her sheep with the neighbours who are not able to buy meat

Gambia in Amsterdam
The Oosterpark, the Kiosk of her mother was the meeting-place for people from Gambia

Would like to

Still would like to pass her finals 


“I’ve lived in Amsterdam since 2001. I moved here with my father who had begun a relationship with a Dutch woman called Anneke. Anneke is my second mum. I still live with her, even though she and my father split up. My biological mother died in 2012, but with her I had the same close bond as I have with Anneke. It’s a blessing, having two mothers.

I feel both Dutch and Gambian. I know where my roots are, and have a strong connection with my motherland. My standards and values are not really Gambian. There it’s usual for a man to have multiple wives, which I don’t think is right.

I’m not in a relationship. My older sisters tease me about this. They think I’m a late bloomer.
When I compare my life to that of my brothers and sisters still living in Gambia, I think I’m freer to do what I want. I can concentrate on the theatre if I choose to. My sister has taken over a mothering role in our family since our mother passed away. As eldest daughter, she sees this as her job.

I can’t imagine living anywhere other than Amsterdam. The architecture, the diversity of social groups, I love it all. My favourite place is Frankendael Park in Watergraafsmeer where I spend every summer day with my friends. It’s small and peaceful. If you’d have asked me the same question two years ago my answer would have been the Pyramide in the Ooster Park. It’s not there any more. My mother owned the kiosk, and I really grew up there.

I have evolved in a variety of ways here in Amsterdam. I don’t know if I would be the same person if I had stayed in Gambia. Education is very good here, and there are so many things I find interesting: painting, theatre, and writing. I doubt I would spend so much time doing these things in Gambia. Life there is too tough to spend your time on such things.”

128 people in Amsterdam have the Gambian nationality


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