Ina is one of the many Sierra Leonean immigrants that have come to call Guinea home. The reason she decided to leave her home country and her home city, however, was the death of her mother.
“When I lost my mother, I lost the only person who took care of me. My father couldn’t help me in continuing school, so I decided to travel by myself and leave. I found transportation, and went to Guinea. “In the beginning, I suffered a lot here. I knew nobody, and I couldn’t speak French, which was a major barrier. Eventually I had to sleep outside.
“I felt very bad. I immediately said to myself, ‘There is no place like home!’”
Her break came when she met someone who also came from her country: “One of my Sierra Leonean sisters helped me. She took care of me by providing some food, and even clothes. She did everything for me.”
This act of kindness helped her overcome her difficulties. She found the strength to fight for herself. “The food just didn’t taste the same”, so she started to cook for herself, and others. The food was quite popular, so she began to sell the food as well to earn herself a living. She now runs one of the most well-known restaurants serving the Sierra Leonean community in the capital city of Guinea.
Ten years after arriving in Guinea, Ina got married, and eventually divorced after having three children. Despite her situation and her challenging living conditions in the beginning, she just didn’t want to go home.
“What do I like about Guinea? The fact that nobody wants to hurt me. On the contrary, people here care about what happens to me.”