I was born in Mijek in 1945. I grew up in the desert with the animals and we were all the time moving. If we heard it was raining somewhere we would move. Everything was packed on the camels and we also rode them to the new place. After 1963 we got a car, it was not hard we just sold a few camels and bought it from Trans-Sahara. It changed life for us.
But the camel is still the most important thing for the bedouin. The car allows us to get things from the far away cities, like clothes, oil, flour and sugar but the milk and meat from the camel is how we survive. I used to see the Spanish sometimes but I could not understand them so never spoke to them. They would not teach my children in the school, they came and took our fish from the sea and our minerals from the land. I was surprised when they gave Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania, I expected us to get independence.
After that the Moroccans came very quickly. I fled on foot with seven other women and my children. We walked to the camps in Algeria, I remember some older people died on the journey. During the war we listened to the radio all the time. My nephew and two uncles died in the fighting. It was just the women in the camps, we organised everything.
I have lived in the camps for thirty five years but since the ceasefire I am able to come to the liberated territory during the summer when it is too hot in the camps. I like to live on my own land not on somebody else's. I go back to the camps because all the international organisations are there and we get help, but life is hard there. Here we see MINURSO [United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara] everyday, we hear a lot of things but nothing ever happens. The ceasefire was a big mistake, if the war had not stopped we would be liberated now and back in Western Sahara. This is politics but the UN do not give the Saharawi anything to be hopeful for. If the war comes again then maybe the world will talk about us and things will change.