Mauritania

Nothing to do with me, just something I witnessed. I’ve been watching Living Undocumented on Netflix and it got me thinking of Kadijha. A young woman I met who was two years older than me from Mauritania. I only know bits of her story. I met her in a homeless shelter in Paris, she was so kind. She wasn’t black, wasn’t Arab and was from a country I’d never heard of. She spoke Arabic and French, had her little life. She wore a hijab out in public but never in the shelter. Didn’t always go to the mosque, tried to pray. She was an amazing person.

She said she was considered mixed race, I can’t remember the demographics but she said about slavery. Her family wanted her to marry a man who was over the age of 70, she was 23. She ran. I don’t know how she made it to France but she did. She ended up in another lady’s flat and was made to cook and clean then she was turned out. She was given a metro ticket and told where to go but didn’t understand the metro so rode one line terminus to terminus until someone helped her. She slept outside a few times and someone gave her bags of pastries from the bakery.

Her first attempt for nationality was denied and she worried about having to go home, she was scared for her life.

And then I dropped off the radar and didn’t have anymore contact with her.

I just hope now she is okay and has a life that makes her happy. Migration shouldn’t be a crime in this way and it breaks my heart.

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