Born in Guinea Bissau, Rosalie took a journey in search of a better life. At the age of fifteen, she went to Dakar to join her older sister and worked there for two years.
In 1988 she went back to her village where she met her husband. Together they decided to migrate to Mauritania.
“In Bissau there are no jobs. We are a big family so everybody needs to contribute. We chose Mauritania because, among the countries of West Africa, it is the one with more job availability and whose currency weighs more.”
Less than a month from their arrival in March of 1989, the political turmoil between Senegal and Mauritania started. Her husband went back to Senegal, but she decided to stay.
The first few months were not easy for Rosalie. But day by day, with her hard work and perseverance, things became better for her. She currently works as housekeeper for several offices in Mauritania. She has three children, the eldest currently based in Portugal, and the younger ones still studying in a school in Senegal.
“Now I am happy. Mash’allah. I have work, and some money and when I can, I visit my family in Guinea.”
“If one day I earned enough money, I would like to go back to Guinea. Mauritania is only for work and Europe is only for holidays. I prefer to stay in Africa, even if this means having less money. I prefer my country to anything else.”
“To me, migration means discovering things, meeting new people, and getting to know the world. But migration also means suffering. You do not leave your country if you are not suffering from something. When you migrate, you are alone. You are far from your family. You are on your own. You migrate to find a job, put some money aside, and then go back to your country to buy a house and build up a new life.”
Photo credit: IOM/F.Giordani