“Traditionally, a marriage does not link two people in love, it links two families, two communities.”   - Senegalese feminist Codou Bop
       
     
  “The concept of love is different in Mexican rural communities and in towns. Men and women get married because they benefit from the marriage. When a woman is 18, she needs a man who will take care of her economically.”   - Mexican psychologist Jorge Reyes Barrera
       
     
  “A woman that is not married means nothing. This is how serious the situation is. And the domestic work is for girls only.”   - Senegalese feminist Codou Bop
       
     
  “Remember, we are in a polygamous society. According to Islamic tradition, one man can have up to four women. Preferably, the first marriage is between cousins who have known each other. Parents very often ask their daughter: ‘Do you love him?’ And she usually replies: ‘I do not hate him’. There is a huge difference between not hating and loving.”   - Senegalese feminist Codou Bop
       
     
  “Thirty and single? I don't believe that. She must be hiding something. The society will not respect her. After some years, she must migrate.”   - Ethiopian gender expert Mitslal Brhane, Adigrat Diocesan Catholic Secretariat
       
     
DSCF8819.jpg
       
     
  Two Women of One Man   Yaya Dia, a Senegalese from Fula ethnic group, used to live outside of Senegal for many years. His second wife agrees with the interview. The whole family is listening, as it is very common in Senegal. If a woman speaks, there are always men listening.  "How is your day usually?"  I ask Faty Sy.   "She just eats and sleeps,"  her husband replies for her.  She nods.  I ask how her life changed after her husband migrated. She stays quiet, looks into the ground and then stands up from the chair to go away.  The first wife Bissaba Ba, visibly older, sits down, looks at her husband and then back at me - waiting for the questions. I understand that asking about her husband in front of him does not make much sense in Senegalese society. I ask about her children.  Except for one, all of them are migrants - some in other parts of Senegal, some in other African countries, others in Europe.  The second wife comes back after some time and stands behind the first one. This is the picture we see in many families - the second wife behind the back of the first one.  Faty Sy has all her children here, in Medina Goudas. The probability is high that she will want them to go outside of the country to be "as valuable" as Bissaba Ba. Various wives of one Senegalese do compete among themselves. There is a rivalry - in regards to who cooks better, who is a better lover as well as who has more successful children. And migration does mean success here.  In Senegal, they even have a nickname for migrants who live outside of the continent. Modou is a short version of Mohamed, however when you hear someone talking about Modou-Modou, it is about a migrant who lives in Europe or the US.
       
     
DSCF8619 2.jpg
       
     
DSCF8834.jpg
       
     
  Alicia’s Wedding   Alicia grew up without her father. He left to the US twice when she was a little girl. Later on, her brother followed him and even though he got deported back to Mexico, he tried his luck again. He is illegal in the US, the reason why he is the only close family member missing at Alicia's wedding. The selfies are to be posted on Facebook so that the brother can see her as a bride.   "Girls who are from migrant families tend to search for a relationship with a migrant, as they are used to a higher comfort,"  Nelly Lopez, a Mexican anthropologist explains.  Alicia gets married to Tony. He left to the US when he was fourteen, before finishing high school, which is a very common scenario for young men in the desert area of the Mexican state San Luis Potosí.  He now has one of the best houses in the village. He built it thanks to money earned in the US, while Alicia stayed behind taking care of their little daughter and awaiting the day of their wedding.  “I bought my wedding dress, I wanted to keep it,”  she says. She could afford to buy a wedding dress. She could also afford to invite three hundred people to their wedding, have men from the family kill a few cows, sheep, and goats for the occasion. However, even though she likes this lavish lifestyle, she would not let Tony go back to the US.  “Bringing up my kid alone was the hardest,”  she says.
       
     
  “Climate change does have an impact on migration, however it is not direct. It affects internal migration more than external. Internal migration from rural areas to cities is very often a step towards external migration.”   - Senegalese sociologist Oumoul Khaïry Coulibaly-Tandian
       
     
  “The drought season is getting longer and longer due to climate change.”   - Amene Haileselassie, NGO Life for Chain, Ethiopia
       
     
  “We had no other option than to send our daughter to Saudi Arabia. We had no money. ”   - Emebet, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
       
     
  “Families of migrants eat meat more often.”   - Alicia, La Herradura, Mexico
       
     
  “I would not go, I love my job. But my son wants to go when he turns 18. He wants to follow his father in the US.”   - Amalia, San Marcos Tlapazola, Mexico
       
     
  “Sometimes only one or two people work in an extended family, and they share the income with the rest.”   - Migrant Souleymane, Tivaoane Peul, Senegal
       
     
  “When a man leaves to the US, it takes time for him to settle down there. Meanwhile, his wife is being controlled by the husband’s family.”   - Mexican journalist and an author of Women of Oaxaca Soledad Jarquín Edgar
       
     
  “There are men in certain villages that get paid by migrants to get information about their wives while they are away. For example, they inform them if their wives are not loyal.”   - Mexican anthropologist Nelly Lopez
       
     
  “I was 15 when my father first left to the US. My mom suffered a lot with him. He beat her; he did not let her leave the house. It was relieving when he left.”   - Raquel, Zacayo, Mexico
       
     
  “He is a macho, in a good way and bad. Economic-wise, we never lacked anything, but from the US he even tells me what to wear. He never beat me, but there was psychological violence. So I live within the boundaries that he set for me. I stayed at home, taking care of our children, until I decided to subscribe for the English course. That was the moment when he stopped talking to me and when he came back to Mexico, he moved his things from our room to another one.”   - Maribel, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
       
     
  Raquel Decides    "I have to make decisions when Leo is not here. Sometimes, there is no signal, we cannot reach each other, so I go to the general assembly and vote according to my best knowledge,"  explains Raquel. She comes from the small Huastec village Zacayo in Mexico. Her community has not allowed political parties to enter yet. Here, men from all the households decide about issues in the community.  What happens when a man migrates? Women who stay behind gain decision-making power. They do not have it easy, in a society where men have the final word to say, it can even be stressful to take on these new responsibilities. However, Raquel is a young woman who has tried to always follow her own path, even though tradition says otherwise. She married her husband because she loved him, which was not always the case of the women from her community. She even followed her husband and they migrated together to Monterrey, a Mexican city that attracts inner migrants.  When we decided to spend an afternoon by the river, Raquel took her old jeans and a pair of scissors, and turned them into shorts in a few minutes. She changed her clothes and came out of the bathroom in short jeans. Her 8 and 10 years old daughters looked at her very critically:  "Is this how you want to go out?"  they said like one.   "Why, do you think they are too short?"  Raquel replied.   "Dad would never let you go out like this,"  was the reply.  Raquel did not change, she told the girls to grab their backpacks and we all took off for the trip.  After the whole day of enjoying ourselves and washing our clothes by the river, Raquel sits on a bench in front of her house, listening to her favorite music.   "I can only listen to it when Leo is not around. He does not like this kind of music, he says it is old".   Raquel decides what she wears and what kind of music she listens to when her husband is not around.
       
     
  “I did not believe him, he was not sending money back. I decided to go to Saudi Arabia myself to search for him.”   - Tsega, Dega, Ethiopia
       
     
  “Do you think he is not cheating on me?”   - Luz María, San Juan del Río, Mexico
       
     
  “When my husband comes back, I think he will be like a complete stranger. Imagine, we have not seen each other for nine years!”   - Luz María, San Juan del Río, Mexico
       
     
  Keyssy and Her Father   Keyssy, the older sister, was born when her father was already in the US; working to provide better lives for his family. When he came back, she was three years old. To her, he was a stranger, she was scared of him, she would cry when he tried to approach her. At that time, Keyssy called her uncle "a father", as he was around when they were left behind.  Slowly, she was getting used to the new person in her life, maybe even gaining trust. However, her little sister was born soon after. The change was very difficult for Keyssy, as the attention of the father was not only hers anymore, now it was divided between them two. She struggled as she felt her parents liked her sister more, the little blonde girl. Searching for the explanation, Keyssy even asked her father if he liked her sister more because she is blonde, unlike her.  The whole family now lives in their new house where they received us. Most probably, the two daughters will be able to study thanks to the savings the family has due to migration. Economic-wise their lives might be better than those of many other families in their small community.  However, I wonder what impacts will migration have on the emotional relationship between a father and a daughter? Will the father have a stronger bond with the younger daughter? How will the relationship of the two sisters evolve? And how will this early childhood experience influence the future life of little Keyssy?
       
     
  “I want my children to study, except Magat, she helps me take care of the house and family.”   - Almata, Gandoile, Senegal
       
     
  “When Leo is not here, I need to show more love to my children, as I became a mom and a dad.”   - Raquel, Zacayo, Mexico
       
     
DSCF1663.jpg
       
     
  Ethiopian Mothers   In front of her house made of rocks that can be found everywhere around in this arid area of the Tigray region in Ethiopia, mama Letay Kahsay sits down on the ground and tells us the story of her son. He migrated to Saudi Arabia many years ago in search of income to cover the most basic needs of his family, especially his mother.  She remembers those happy moments when she finally bought a mobile from the money he had sent her and she was able to talk to him from time to time, when the signal allowed them to.  She shows us the parts of the house she was able to rebuild with his help. She does not know where he worked but his salary in the Arabic country did not improve their life standard drastically.  Until one day, she received the news that her son was dead; someone had killed him.   "Nothing makes me happy anymore, I would rather die than continue living,"  tells a woman who has never known what happened to her son. She only knows now she needs to worry again about getting sick, as she is completely dependent on the help from others.  We meet Serkalem in her little stall at local market in Addis Ababa. She does not even wait for me to turn on the recorder and she says:  "11 years. That is how much I spent there!"  She, like millions of other Ethiopian women, migrated to Saudi Arabia and worked there as a housekeeper.  She left her children and a husband behind which had irreversible consequences for the whole family.  She helped her only son to make it to Saudi Arabia as well. “He was troubled in Ethiopia, his life changed completely,” she says. However, it has been five years since then and she has no news about him. According to her, she knows where he is but the Ethiopian government cannot help her contact him, as he is an illegal migrant.  She now lives with her mother, separated from her husband and daughters. Selling varied products, such as socks, soaps, tomatoes and onions, she is making a living to sustain herself and her mother.  "It was not worth it,"  she says about migration.
       
     
  “He sacrificed himself for us.”   - Sisters Mateo, San Marcos Tlapazola, Mexico
       
     
  “I only know my grandchildren from the photos my son sent me in 2009. I have never seen the youngest one.”   - Lucía, San Juan del Río, Mexico
       
     
  “He has not changed in the US. A lot of migrants come back very arrogant. They buy a car and they behave as if they have conquered the world. This was not Tony’s case, he is still very humble.”   - Alicia, La Herradura, Mexico
       
     
  “My husband left when I was pregnant. He came back from the US when my boy was four years old, but after some time he left again. I have not seen him since then. I am not going to wait for him anymore, I have another partner now. The community does not look nice at me, but I don’t care. Even my son who is 17 told me not to wait.”   - Adriana, Mexico City, Mexico
       
     
  “Before I come to Senegal, I work for two months only to buy presents for the family.”   - Migrant Djiby, Gandoile, Senegal
       
     
  “Traditionally, a marriage does not link two people in love, it links two families, two communities.”   - Senegalese feminist Codou Bop
       
     

“Traditionally, a marriage does not link two people in love, it links two families, two communities.”

- Senegalese feminist Codou Bop

  “The concept of love is different in Mexican rural communities and in towns. Men and women get married because they benefit from the marriage. When a woman is 18, she needs a man who will take care of her economically.”   - Mexican psychologist Jorge Reyes Barrera
       
     

“The concept of love is different in Mexican rural communities and in towns. Men and women get married because they benefit from the marriage. When a woman is 18, she needs a man who will take care of her economically.”

- Mexican psychologist Jorge Reyes Barrera

  “A woman that is not married means nothing. This is how serious the situation is. And the domestic work is for girls only.”   - Senegalese feminist Codou Bop
       
     

“A woman that is not married means nothing. This is how serious the situation is. And the domestic work is for girls only.”

- Senegalese feminist Codou Bop

  “Remember, we are in a polygamous society. According to Islamic tradition, one man can have up to four women. Preferably, the first marriage is between cousins who have known each other. Parents very often ask their daughter: ‘Do you love him?’ And she usually replies: ‘I do not hate him’. There is a huge difference between not hating and loving.”   - Senegalese feminist Codou Bop
       
     

“Remember, we are in a polygamous society. According to Islamic tradition, one man can have up to four women. Preferably, the first marriage is between cousins who have known each other. Parents very often ask their daughter: ‘Do you love him?’ And she usually replies: ‘I do not hate him’. There is a huge difference between not hating and loving.”

- Senegalese feminist Codou Bop

  “Thirty and single? I don't believe that. She must be hiding something. The society will not respect her. After some years, she must migrate.”   - Ethiopian gender expert Mitslal Brhane, Adigrat Diocesan Catholic Secretariat
       
     

“Thirty and single? I don't believe that. She must be hiding something. The society will not respect her. After some years, she must migrate.”

- Ethiopian gender expert Mitslal Brhane, Adigrat Diocesan Catholic Secretariat

DSCF8819.jpg
       
     
  Two Women of One Man   Yaya Dia, a Senegalese from Fula ethnic group, used to live outside of Senegal for many years. His second wife agrees with the interview. The whole family is listening, as it is very common in Senegal. If a woman speaks, there are always men listening.  "How is your day usually?"  I ask Faty Sy.   "She just eats and sleeps,"  her husband replies for her.  She nods.  I ask how her life changed after her husband migrated. She stays quiet, looks into the ground and then stands up from the chair to go away.  The first wife Bissaba Ba, visibly older, sits down, looks at her husband and then back at me - waiting for the questions. I understand that asking about her husband in front of him does not make much sense in Senegalese society. I ask about her children.  Except for one, all of them are migrants - some in other parts of Senegal, some in other African countries, others in Europe.  The second wife comes back after some time and stands behind the first one. This is the picture we see in many families - the second wife behind the back of the first one.  Faty Sy has all her children here, in Medina Goudas. The probability is high that she will want them to go outside of the country to be "as valuable" as Bissaba Ba. Various wives of one Senegalese do compete among themselves. There is a rivalry - in regards to who cooks better, who is a better lover as well as who has more successful children. And migration does mean success here.  In Senegal, they even have a nickname for migrants who live outside of the continent. Modou is a short version of Mohamed, however when you hear someone talking about Modou-Modou, it is about a migrant who lives in Europe or the US.
       
     

Two Women of One Man

Yaya Dia, a Senegalese from Fula ethnic group, used to live outside of Senegal for many years. His second wife agrees with the interview. The whole family is listening, as it is very common in Senegal. If a woman speaks, there are always men listening. "How is your day usually?" I ask Faty Sy.

"She just eats and sleeps," her husband replies for her.

She nods.

I ask how her life changed after her husband migrated. She stays quiet, looks into the ground and then stands up from the chair to go away.

The first wife Bissaba Ba, visibly older, sits down, looks at her husband and then back at me - waiting for the questions. I understand that asking about her husband in front of him does not make much sense in Senegalese society. I ask about her children.

Except for one, all of them are migrants - some in other parts of Senegal, some in other African countries, others in Europe.

The second wife comes back after some time and stands behind the first one. This is the picture we see in many families - the second wife behind the back of the first one.

Faty Sy has all her children here, in Medina Goudas. The probability is high that she will want them to go outside of the country to be "as valuable" as Bissaba Ba. Various wives of one Senegalese do compete among themselves. There is a rivalry - in regards to who cooks better, who is a better lover as well as who has more successful children. And migration does mean success here.

In Senegal, they even have a nickname for migrants who live outside of the continent. Modou is a short version of Mohamed, however when you hear someone talking about Modou-Modou, it is about a migrant who lives in Europe or the US.

DSCF8619 2.jpg
       
     
DSCF8834.jpg
       
     
  Alicia’s Wedding   Alicia grew up without her father. He left to the US twice when she was a little girl. Later on, her brother followed him and even though he got deported back to Mexico, he tried his luck again. He is illegal in the US, the reason why he is the only close family member missing at Alicia's wedding. The selfies are to be posted on Facebook so that the brother can see her as a bride.   "Girls who are from migrant families tend to search for a relationship with a migrant, as they are used to a higher comfort,"  Nelly Lopez, a Mexican anthropologist explains.  Alicia gets married to Tony. He left to the US when he was fourteen, before finishing high school, which is a very common scenario for young men in the desert area of the Mexican state San Luis Potosí.  He now has one of the best houses in the village. He built it thanks to money earned in the US, while Alicia stayed behind taking care of their little daughter and awaiting the day of their wedding.  “I bought my wedding dress, I wanted to keep it,”  she says. She could afford to buy a wedding dress. She could also afford to invite three hundred people to their wedding, have men from the family kill a few cows, sheep, and goats for the occasion. However, even though she likes this lavish lifestyle, she would not let Tony go back to the US.  “Bringing up my kid alone was the hardest,”  she says.
       
     

Alicia’s Wedding

Alicia grew up without her father. He left to the US twice when she was a little girl. Later on, her brother followed him and even though he got deported back to Mexico, he tried his luck again. He is illegal in the US, the reason why he is the only close family member missing at Alicia's wedding. The selfies are to be posted on Facebook so that the brother can see her as a bride.

"Girls who are from migrant families tend to search for a relationship with a migrant, as they are used to a higher comfort," Nelly Lopez, a Mexican anthropologist explains.

Alicia gets married to Tony. He left to the US when he was fourteen, before finishing high school, which is a very common scenario for young men in the desert area of the Mexican state San Luis Potosí.

He now has one of the best houses in the village. He built it thanks to money earned in the US, while Alicia stayed behind taking care of their little daughter and awaiting the day of their wedding. “I bought my wedding dress, I wanted to keep it,” she says. She could afford to buy a wedding dress. She could also afford to invite three hundred people to their wedding, have men from the family kill a few cows, sheep, and goats for the occasion. However, even though she likes this lavish lifestyle, she would not let Tony go back to the US. “Bringing up my kid alone was the hardest,” she says.

  “Climate change does have an impact on migration, however it is not direct. It affects internal migration more than external. Internal migration from rural areas to cities is very often a step towards external migration.”   - Senegalese sociologist Oumoul Khaïry Coulibaly-Tandian
       
     

“Climate change does have an impact on migration, however it is not direct. It affects internal migration more than external. Internal migration from rural areas to cities is very often a step towards external migration.”

- Senegalese sociologist Oumoul Khaïry Coulibaly-Tandian

  “The drought season is getting longer and longer due to climate change.”   - Amene Haileselassie, NGO Life for Chain, Ethiopia
       
     

“The drought season is getting longer and longer due to climate change.”

- Amene Haileselassie, NGO Life for Chain, Ethiopia

  “We had no other option than to send our daughter to Saudi Arabia. We had no money. ”   - Emebet, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
       
     

“We had no other option than to send our daughter to Saudi Arabia. We had no money. ”

- Emebet, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  “Families of migrants eat meat more often.”   - Alicia, La Herradura, Mexico
       
     

“Families of migrants eat meat more often.”

- Alicia, La Herradura, Mexico

  “I would not go, I love my job. But my son wants to go when he turns 18. He wants to follow his father in the US.”   - Amalia, San Marcos Tlapazola, Mexico
       
     

“I would not go, I love my job. But my son wants to go when he turns 18. He wants to follow his father in the US.”

- Amalia, San Marcos Tlapazola, Mexico

  “Sometimes only one or two people work in an extended family, and they share the income with the rest.”   - Migrant Souleymane, Tivaoane Peul, Senegal
       
     

“Sometimes only one or two people work in an extended family, and they share the income with the rest.”

- Migrant Souleymane, Tivaoane Peul, Senegal

  “When a man leaves to the US, it takes time for him to settle down there. Meanwhile, his wife is being controlled by the husband’s family.”   - Mexican journalist and an author of Women of Oaxaca Soledad Jarquín Edgar
       
     

“When a man leaves to the US, it takes time for him to settle down there. Meanwhile, his wife is being controlled by the husband’s family.”

- Mexican journalist and an author of Women of Oaxaca Soledad Jarquín Edgar

  “There are men in certain villages that get paid by migrants to get information about their wives while they are away. For example, they inform them if their wives are not loyal.”   - Mexican anthropologist Nelly Lopez
       
     

“There are men in certain villages that get paid by migrants to get information about their wives while they are away. For example, they inform them if their wives are not loyal.”

- Mexican anthropologist Nelly Lopez

  “I was 15 when my father first left to the US. My mom suffered a lot with him. He beat her; he did not let her leave the house. It was relieving when he left.”   - Raquel, Zacayo, Mexico
       
     

“I was 15 when my father first left to the US. My mom suffered a lot with him. He beat her; he did not let her leave the house. It was relieving when he left.”

- Raquel, Zacayo, Mexico

  “He is a macho, in a good way and bad. Economic-wise, we never lacked anything, but from the US he even tells me what to wear. He never beat me, but there was psychological violence. So I live within the boundaries that he set for me. I stayed at home, taking care of our children, until I decided to subscribe for the English course. That was the moment when he stopped talking to me and when he came back to Mexico, he moved his things from our room to another one.”   - Maribel, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
       
     

“He is a macho, in a good way and bad. Economic-wise, we never lacked anything, but from the US he even tells me what to wear. He never beat me, but there was psychological violence. So I live within the boundaries that he set for me. I stayed at home, taking care of our children, until I decided to subscribe for the English course. That was the moment when he stopped talking to me and when he came back to Mexico, he moved his things from our room to another one.”

- Maribel, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

  Raquel Decides    "I have to make decisions when Leo is not here. Sometimes, there is no signal, we cannot reach each other, so I go to the general assembly and vote according to my best knowledge,"  explains Raquel. She comes from the small Huastec village Zacayo in Mexico. Her community has not allowed political parties to enter yet. Here, men from all the households decide about issues in the community.  What happens when a man migrates? Women who stay behind gain decision-making power. They do not have it easy, in a society where men have the final word to say, it can even be stressful to take on these new responsibilities. However, Raquel is a young woman who has tried to always follow her own path, even though tradition says otherwise. She married her husband because she loved him, which was not always the case of the women from her community. She even followed her husband and they migrated together to Monterrey, a Mexican city that attracts inner migrants.  When we decided to spend an afternoon by the river, Raquel took her old jeans and a pair of scissors, and turned them into shorts in a few minutes. She changed her clothes and came out of the bathroom in short jeans. Her 8 and 10 years old daughters looked at her very critically:  "Is this how you want to go out?"  they said like one.   "Why, do you think they are too short?"  Raquel replied.   "Dad would never let you go out like this,"  was the reply.  Raquel did not change, she told the girls to grab their backpacks and we all took off for the trip.  After the whole day of enjoying ourselves and washing our clothes by the river, Raquel sits on a bench in front of her house, listening to her favorite music.   "I can only listen to it when Leo is not around. He does not like this kind of music, he says it is old".   Raquel decides what she wears and what kind of music she listens to when her husband is not around.
       
     

Raquel Decides

"I have to make decisions when Leo is not here. Sometimes, there is no signal, we cannot reach each other, so I go to the general assembly and vote according to my best knowledge," explains Raquel. She comes from the small Huastec village Zacayo in Mexico. Her community has not allowed political parties to enter yet. Here, men from all the households decide about issues in the community.

What happens when a man migrates? Women who stay behind gain decision-making power. They do not have it easy, in a society where men have the final word to say, it can even be stressful to take on these new responsibilities. However, Raquel is a young woman who has tried to always follow her own path, even though tradition says otherwise. She married her husband because she loved him, which was not always the case of the women from her community. She even followed her husband and they migrated together to Monterrey, a Mexican city that attracts inner migrants.

When we decided to spend an afternoon by the river, Raquel took her old jeans and a pair of scissors, and turned them into shorts in a few minutes. She changed her clothes and came out of the bathroom in short jeans. Her 8 and 10 years old daughters looked at her very critically: "Is this how you want to go out?" they said like one.

"Why, do you think they are too short?" Raquel replied.

"Dad would never let you go out like this," was the reply.

Raquel did not change, she told the girls to grab their backpacks and we all took off for the trip.

After the whole day of enjoying ourselves and washing our clothes by the river, Raquel sits on a bench in front of her house, listening to her favorite music.

"I can only listen to it when Leo is not around. He does not like this kind of music, he says it is old".

Raquel decides what she wears and what kind of music she listens to when her husband is not around.

  “I did not believe him, he was not sending money back. I decided to go to Saudi Arabia myself to search for him.”   - Tsega, Dega, Ethiopia
       
     

“I did not believe him, he was not sending money back. I decided to go to Saudi Arabia myself to search for him.”

- Tsega, Dega, Ethiopia

  “Do you think he is not cheating on me?”   - Luz María, San Juan del Río, Mexico
       
     

“Do you think he is not cheating on me?”

- Luz María, San Juan del Río, Mexico

  “When my husband comes back, I think he will be like a complete stranger. Imagine, we have not seen each other for nine years!”   - Luz María, San Juan del Río, Mexico
       
     

“When my husband comes back, I think he will be like a complete stranger. Imagine, we have not seen each other for nine years!”

- Luz María, San Juan del Río, Mexico

  Keyssy and Her Father   Keyssy, the older sister, was born when her father was already in the US; working to provide better lives for his family. When he came back, she was three years old. To her, he was a stranger, she was scared of him, she would cry when he tried to approach her. At that time, Keyssy called her uncle "a father", as he was around when they were left behind.  Slowly, she was getting used to the new person in her life, maybe even gaining trust. However, her little sister was born soon after. The change was very difficult for Keyssy, as the attention of the father was not only hers anymore, now it was divided between them two. She struggled as she felt her parents liked her sister more, the little blonde girl. Searching for the explanation, Keyssy even asked her father if he liked her sister more because she is blonde, unlike her.  The whole family now lives in their new house where they received us. Most probably, the two daughters will be able to study thanks to the savings the family has due to migration. Economic-wise their lives might be better than those of many other families in their small community.  However, I wonder what impacts will migration have on the emotional relationship between a father and a daughter? Will the father have a stronger bond with the younger daughter? How will the relationship of the two sisters evolve? And how will this early childhood experience influence the future life of little Keyssy?
       
     

Keyssy and Her Father

Keyssy, the older sister, was born when her father was already in the US; working to provide better lives for his family. When he came back, she was three years old. To her, he was a stranger, she was scared of him, she would cry when he tried to approach her. At that time, Keyssy called her uncle "a father", as he was around when they were left behind.

Slowly, she was getting used to the new person in her life, maybe even gaining trust. However, her little sister was born soon after. The change was very difficult for Keyssy, as the attention of the father was not only hers anymore, now it was divided between them two. She struggled as she felt her parents liked her sister more, the little blonde girl. Searching for the explanation, Keyssy even asked her father if he liked her sister more because she is blonde, unlike her.

The whole family now lives in their new house where they received us. Most probably, the two daughters will be able to study thanks to the savings the family has due to migration. Economic-wise their lives might be better than those of many other families in their small community.

However, I wonder what impacts will migration have on the emotional relationship between a father and a daughter? Will the father have a stronger bond with the younger daughter? How will the relationship of the two sisters evolve? And how will this early childhood experience influence the future life of little Keyssy?

  “I want my children to study, except Magat, she helps me take care of the house and family.”   - Almata, Gandoile, Senegal
       
     

“I want my children to study, except Magat, she helps me take care of the house and family.”

- Almata, Gandoile, Senegal

  “When Leo is not here, I need to show more love to my children, as I became a mom and a dad.”   - Raquel, Zacayo, Mexico
       
     

“When Leo is not here, I need to show more love to my children, as I became a mom and a dad.”

- Raquel, Zacayo, Mexico

DSCF1663.jpg
       
     
  Ethiopian Mothers   In front of her house made of rocks that can be found everywhere around in this arid area of the Tigray region in Ethiopia, mama Letay Kahsay sits down on the ground and tells us the story of her son. He migrated to Saudi Arabia many years ago in search of income to cover the most basic needs of his family, especially his mother.  She remembers those happy moments when she finally bought a mobile from the money he had sent her and she was able to talk to him from time to time, when the signal allowed them to.  She shows us the parts of the house she was able to rebuild with his help. She does not know where he worked but his salary in the Arabic country did not improve their life standard drastically.  Until one day, she received the news that her son was dead; someone had killed him.   "Nothing makes me happy anymore, I would rather die than continue living,"  tells a woman who has never known what happened to her son. She only knows now she needs to worry again about getting sick, as she is completely dependent on the help from others.  We meet Serkalem in her little stall at local market in Addis Ababa. She does not even wait for me to turn on the recorder and she says:  "11 years. That is how much I spent there!"  She, like millions of other Ethiopian women, migrated to Saudi Arabia and worked there as a housekeeper.  She left her children and a husband behind which had irreversible consequences for the whole family.  She helped her only son to make it to Saudi Arabia as well. “He was troubled in Ethiopia, his life changed completely,” she says. However, it has been five years since then and she has no news about him. According to her, she knows where he is but the Ethiopian government cannot help her contact him, as he is an illegal migrant.  She now lives with her mother, separated from her husband and daughters. Selling varied products, such as socks, soaps, tomatoes and onions, she is making a living to sustain herself and her mother.  "It was not worth it,"  she says about migration.
       
     

Ethiopian Mothers

In front of her house made of rocks that can be found everywhere around in this arid area of the Tigray region in Ethiopia, mama Letay Kahsay sits down on the ground and tells us the story of her son. He migrated to Saudi Arabia many years ago in search of income to cover the most basic needs of his family, especially his mother.

She remembers those happy moments when she finally bought a mobile from the money he had sent her and she was able to talk to him from time to time, when the signal allowed them to.

She shows us the parts of the house she was able to rebuild with his help. She does not know where he worked but his salary in the Arabic country did not improve their life standard drastically.

Until one day, she received the news that her son was dead; someone had killed him.

"Nothing makes me happy anymore, I would rather die than continue living," tells a woman who has never known what happened to her son. She only knows now she needs to worry again about getting sick, as she is completely dependent on the help from others.

We meet Serkalem in her little stall at local market in Addis Ababa. She does not even wait for me to turn on the recorder and she says: "11 years. That is how much I spent there!" She, like millions of other Ethiopian women, migrated to Saudi Arabia and worked there as a housekeeper.

She left her children and a husband behind which had irreversible consequences for the whole family.

She helped her only son to make it to Saudi Arabia as well. “He was troubled in Ethiopia, his life changed completely,” she says. However, it has been five years since then and she has no news about him. According to her, she knows where he is but the Ethiopian government cannot help her contact him, as he is an illegal migrant.

She now lives with her mother, separated from her husband and daughters. Selling varied products, such as socks, soaps, tomatoes and onions, she is making a living to sustain herself and her mother. "It was not worth it," she says about migration.

  “He sacrificed himself for us.”   - Sisters Mateo, San Marcos Tlapazola, Mexico
       
     

“He sacrificed himself for us.”

- Sisters Mateo, San Marcos Tlapazola, Mexico

  “I only know my grandchildren from the photos my son sent me in 2009. I have never seen the youngest one.”   - Lucía, San Juan del Río, Mexico
       
     

“I only know my grandchildren from the photos my son sent me in 2009. I have never seen the youngest one.”

- Lucía, San Juan del Río, Mexico

  “He has not changed in the US. A lot of migrants come back very arrogant. They buy a car and they behave as if they have conquered the world. This was not Tony’s case, he is still very humble.”   - Alicia, La Herradura, Mexico
       
     

“He has not changed in the US. A lot of migrants come back very arrogant. They buy a car and they behave as if they have conquered the world. This was not Tony’s case, he is still very humble.”

- Alicia, La Herradura, Mexico

  “My husband left when I was pregnant. He came back from the US when my boy was four years old, but after some time he left again. I have not seen him since then. I am not going to wait for him anymore, I have another partner now. The community does not look nice at me, but I don’t care. Even my son who is 17 told me not to wait.”   - Adriana, Mexico City, Mexico
       
     

“My husband left when I was pregnant. He came back from the US when my boy was four years old, but after some time he left again. I have not seen him since then. I am not going to wait for him anymore, I have another partner now. The community does not look nice at me, but I don’t care. Even my son who is 17 told me not to wait.”

- Adriana, Mexico City, Mexico

  “Before I come to Senegal, I work for two months only to buy presents for the family.”   - Migrant Djiby, Gandoile, Senegal
       
     

“Before I come to Senegal, I work for two months only to buy presents for the family.”

- Migrant Djiby, Gandoile, Senegal