“My age? I don’t know it, I think I’m about 20 years old. I come from a village not far from Timbuktu. When I was still a small girl, my father left my mother, my brothers and I. We had nothing. I often did not have anything to eat. I had to work. I worked in the fields. I spent whole days there! I was ready to do anything to eat. I don’t remember how old I was, but I was not very tall: I did not have any breasts yet, they had not grown yet. (Laughter)
A few years later — I was 15 — my mother forced me to marry her old cousin. I detested him and the last thing I wanted was to want to marry him. I wanted to run away, but my sisters forced me to stay and constantly repeated “he is your husband”.
We married and he did what he wanted with me. I could not turn him down. Conjugal duty! I finally got pregnant with Zahra, a little girl whom I name after my sister.
When my mother died, I could not take it anymore. I finally freed myself up from my husband’s yoke. I turned him down and he asked for divorce. When I gave birth, I found myself alone.
I was only a child with a child.