Dolar Mande

Dolar Mande

"Living here makes me feel happy and bad sometimes," recounts Dolar Mande (pseud, 32), a Beninese refugee now in Italy. Dolar left his home and family behind due to a conflict in his village. His journey to Europe was "difficult." At one point the driver of their group abandoned them in the desert. Dolar continued on foot, walking for days before being kidnapped by the Libyan army who demanded money. “That time a loss hope,” he says. He still thinks about the past and misses his children: "I can't say the situation doesn't affect me today, because of what happened in the past.” But, he says, “not all problems come to damage you, some change your life.” There are some positives: "I grown as result of this… for example I have opportunity to learning new language, discover another culture." Before, Dolar dreamt of teaching the Quran. His faith has sustained him throughout this journey. His dream now "is to be near of my family, educate my children like every father."

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Full interview

This interview was provided without the questions that were asked by the interviewer.

I live in the studio flat

It very small but no bad

I live alone

I work and in my free time i read quran

Many things bring me joy, for example when I have a video call with my family and when I pray to my God.

Not bad Europe is a continent of hope, human rights are respected, access to hospital service. The difficult thing is the language because I never go to the school in my country.

Living here makes me feel happy and bad sometimes, because here I have many opportunities and when I think that my family is far away it makes me sad.

Bad I feel being away from the rest of my family. Now my children are grown without their father.

I would never imagine, I give all in the hand of God because the only who has a solution for everything.

I overcome it by trusting  in god.

Yes I developed many abilities to deal with these challenges: I put God first in everything. 

COVID-19 affected not only me but all the world. It is not easy to be locked for months, COVID stops my work, I’m scared everyday for my children in Africa.

I leave my country because of a local conflict in my village…. I’m sorry, understand me don’t ask me a question like this. It is a sad past, I’m forcing myself to forget it.

It makes me sad at the time, a person without dignity.

The journey to Europe was difficult, the particularly difficult that I could tell is when our driver left us in the desert. We walked days before we arrived in the first city, Sabah. There again the Libyan army kidnapped us and ask money before we continued our trip.

That time a loss hope. 

Yes, I think about every single day, especially at night. Sometimes I think about my children a lot.

When I think about I feel disappointed with this life.

I can’t say the situation doesn’t affect me today, because of what happened in the past. I’m here in Europe, not all problems come to damage you, some change your life.

It God who brought this problem and he is the only who can resolve it. So at the beginning I knew I would handle the situation. 

I get through because of God. With God all is possible just wait the time of God.

Before the event occurred, my dream was to become a Quran teacher.

When I was leaving home my dream for the future was to find a peaceful place to bring my family with me and if possible teach Quran.

My strength  before I left was my Quran knowledge. I’m a farmer soo.

Yes, I maintained these strength… I trust in Allah so I read so much Quran and here I worked like farmer at beginning.

I grown as result of this experience not small. Many positive thing come out of it for example, I have opportunity to learning new language, discover another culture…

My dream now is to be near of my family, educate my children like every father.

Nobody lives his country without a problem, small or big, they must know that we don’t come here for pleasure.


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Transcribed and translated by:

Edited by:

Mouhamed Yaye Traore

Maddy Bazil

Transcribed and translated by: Mouhamed Yaye Traore

Edited by: Maddy Bazil

Many 1000 Dreams interviews were not conducted in English. Their translation has not always been performed by professional translators. Despite great efforts to ensure accuracy, there may be errors.