Photo credit: IOM/Amanda NERO
"Migrating has had a significant impact on my life and made me the person I am. My journey began at the age of two, when I went through my first ‘involuntary’ migration from Casablanca in Morocco – where I was born – to Douala and then Yaoundé in Cameroon.
From there, my family and I flew to Paris in France. This was my second involuntary migration.
As a young adult, after moving across France, of my own will, from one city to another, I chose to move to Geneva in Switzerland to work for an NGO Aide et Action Internationale whose mission is to change the world through education.
If you ask me what I have learnt from these experiences, here is my answer: resilience and adaptability.
From a very young age, I have understood that migrating also implied leaving behind loved ones, adventures, smells and sensations that still live in me. I remember being carried on my Cameroonian nanny’s back; I remember the touch of her skin, her smell and her voice when she was singing. All this made me a member of the African community.
I remember picking a banana and eating it with its skin; running barefooted on the red earth, driving on uneven surfaces to go to Kribi beach… I had to let that life go.
Through those migrations, I discovered that movement is life and that each individual has to adapt to their environment; which I did, fearlessly and out of interest and curiosity. Human mobility is precious for it fosters diversity, curiosity and open-mindedness.
Change is our greatest wealth and it does not cost a dime. I had the chance to travel from country to country, town to town, and to change companies and careers in a carefree and confident way.
Neither my place of birth, nor my background or studies prepared me for the life I had. Only my capacity to adapt and accept change took me where I am now. And it’s not over yet. I am going to turn 60 and I am leaving Geneva to go work for Handicap International in Lyon, France. I live each day with a quenchless curiosity and desire to learn."