The refuge in Nouadhibou

Sophie stood behind the counter preparing some eggs, around the small table were two men from Ghana, a girl from Nigeria and myself, all seated on plastic chairs. All of them, Sophie and her guests in the small cafe, had come to Nouadhibou in a try to reach Europe.

”I’ve been here for three years now” Sophie told me. ”Three years in this town. It’s not nice. Not like Nigeria. My country is amazing! But I want to see Europe. I want to know what it is. You know Europeans can come here to Africa, but we Africans can’t go to Europe.” the tone in her voice was tired. Surrendered but still she said she wouldn’t give up until she reached Europe.

Suriman; a tall man from Ghana, said he just wants to travel in Europe. ”I want to experience life there. See how the people live.” he looked at me and sighed. ”You know they call me white man. My skin is black but my mind is white.”
”How can your mind have a colour? There is no difference in our brains because of different colours of the skin” I objected.
”The way the people think. I can see you are hard working, you should come and work for me.”
”What is your work?” I asked.
”Butchery. I’m a butcher. Kill animals.”
”No way!” I said. “I’m vegetarian. I couldn’t kill animal.”
“You don’t have to kill it, I slit the throat then I hold it and you remove the skin.”
“Never. Sorry man it’s impossible.”
“But you could develop the company. You’re white, you think differently.” he tried.
“Friend, I would shut your company down.”

I’ve met many more people in Nouadhibou seeking a way to get into Europe, but since Spain and Mauritania came to an agreement in 2010 to stop the boats my friends hasn’t heard of any smuggler bringing people across the ocean.

Some people ask me if I’m not afraid when I travel. But seriously, sitting in a taxi driving across the desert isn’t close to as dangerous as risking your life in a three days boat ride in a small boat while polices keep investing money in means to hunt you down. I’m a free woman, no one wants to stop me from reaching my dreams. It’s them you should be worried for.


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