Photo credit: IOM/Monica Chiriac
“My husband died a year ago. He got sick one day and two days later he was dead. He used to be a teacher and I used to be a seamstress, but nowadays there are too many seamstresses so it’s hard to get by. After he died, I didn’t have any means to support my family so I decided to go to Algeria. I sold everything I had and at 38 years old, I left all by myself.
Life was not that easy there. I worked in a restaurant for a while until I decided to go back. I gained a bit of money, but used most of it for transport to get back home. We have IOM in Cameroon as well, but it didn’t cross my mind to contact them here until I met my fellow Cameroonians at the bus station.
I left my two daughters, 10 and 17, back in Cameroon with my mother. My mom can get by and buy the daily bread, but that’s about it. I don’t have any brothers or sisters either so my family relies on me for support. I used to send them money all the time from Algeria.
I fought hard so my girls could stay in school. Everything I earned, I saved so I could pay their school fees. School comes first. My little one wants to join the military when she grows up, but I don’t approve that, and the oldest one wants to keep studying. My biggest dream is to see my girls grow up.
I always call my mum to talk to my daughters, and she always tells me that I need to work hard, that there is nothing to do at home. People usually say that if you leave your country, you gain some money to feed your family, and it’s true. But I miss my girls so much. I don’t regret leaving, but I am very happy to go back.
The hardest thing I had to go through in my life was my husband's death. I never want to remarry. I loved him dearly, he was the father of my kids. When I get back, I’ll see how things go, and maybe if I get a bit of money, I’ll open my own shop. I’ll try to make it, but it’s hard. I often feel alone in this world.”