A Story of Hope and Healing

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In 2013, I came to US seeking an asylum, and in first few months of my arrival I faced many hardships, such as not having a job, income, proper housing, and feeling like helpless. Receiving a work permit changed things for me, and shortly after I start working in French restaurant as service assistant.

Written by Aboubacar, an NSC Client

Many childhood memories are filled with happy and carefree recollections, whereas mine is impacted with pain and hardships. The Mauritanian government killed my father when I was only two years old, as he was involved antislavery and discrimination movement against Haratin-Fulani people in Mauritanians (largest minority group in Mauritania and among the most economically and politically marginalized). I grew up beyond my age, as I assumed my father’s role and responsibilities at age 7. I used to go with my mother to the farm every day after school; to pick a vegetables and grains and sell them in the city of Kaedi.

My name is Aboubacar and I am from Mauritania. The only source income and subsistence for my family were the outcome of the farm produces. As child I watched the fear and concern on my mother’s face every morning, as she sends us to school, because Haratin-Fulani people face persistent discrimination of education and other opportunities. In 2010, I joined the IRA (the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist) protest against discrimination and human right violation of minority Mauritanians movement. As result I was arrested and tortured for 19 days. During my imprisonment, my mother suffered from panic attacks and hearth problems, feeling overwhelmed by the thoughts of losing me too.

The torture experience in the prison, left me feeling defeated, and my future dreams had been shattered. It was my dream to go to medical school and to become a doctor, but that choice was taken away from me as when I expelled from the school. In 2013, I came to US seeking an asylum, and in first few months of my arrival I faced many hardships, such as not having a job, income, proper housing, and feeling like helpless. Receiving a work permit changed things for me, and shortly after I start working in French restaurant as service assistant. One of my greatest challenges is worrying about my mother, who is sick and frail back in Mauritania.

Despite the hardship and pain suffered, I also had some of happy childhood memories. My favorite childhood memories are the Eid holidays; only time my mother use to buy new clothing for my sibling and me, and eat the traditional dish called Banaf/Banov (Mauritanian dish of meat and vegetable stew). Playing soccer as young adult is best memories of my childhood, where played different field sides such as # 4 (right side defensive midfield), # 6 (left side defensive midfield), and # 7 (winger or attacking player who is stationed in a wide position near the touchlines). I got highest grade of science course in both middle school and high school in entire Kaedi, Mauritania.

My past experience taught me to be diligence and perseverance in the face of challenges, and not take anything in life for granted. Here in US, I have opportunity to work and pursue my education goals of becoming registered nurse, as my Idle Baaba Maal sings, “There is a time, a time to cry, a time to love, a time to live”.

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