Photo: Eric Djimtolou
Mama Jackie, as her friends and family affectionately call her, is the owner of a restaurant called “La Tortue” in the Moursal district of N’Djamena.
She is a trained designer and restaurateur, married and mother of 2 who has lived in Chad for 27 years. She arrived in Chad in the early 90’s initially for a family visit as her niece is half Chadian, yet she also discovered the country and its economic potential for the restaurant business , something she could easily do after having lived for more than 15 years in France and where she learned an immense about the sector.
After her family visit, which lasted only a few weeks, she went back to Cameroon and then returned later to settle down and start her business with the support of her husband.
What comes to mind when she hears the word migration? She responds : “the desire to go to Europe in the quest for well-being, regardless of the sacrifices that must be made.” “But the West is not an Eldorado”, she adds.
For having lived over a decade in Europe, Mama Jackie says that “you can live better in Africa. One can undertake in one’s country with the limited means at one’s disposal.” Although it is difficult, sometimes with the energy problems that arise and sometimes impact her activities, she expressed that only perseverance and a job well done pays off.
Africa is rich, its culture even richer and her restaurant is a crossroads of different African cuisines. At the restaurant “La Tortue”, she employs more than 5 young people who work among others, as servers and cooks, and from time to time, she shares her experience, giving small trainings to youth who wish to pursue a career in the restaurant sector.
This story is part of the "Beyond the Headlines: an Overview of Migration in Chad" publication.