‘We Are Not Yet Free’: Living in Slavery’s Shadow in Mauritania

‘We Are Not Yet Free’: Living in Slavery’s Shadow in Mauritania
People stand outside their home in a poor neighborhood of Nouakchott, Mauritania, June 26, 2006 (AP photo by Schalk van Zuydam).

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania—Maatalla Mboirick’s home sits a few hundred meters off the main road of this desert city, past high mounds of orange sand. It is little more than a collection of tarps affixed to wooden beams and scrap metal. Thin mattresses and sturdy pillows line the interior of a tent at the back of the property, one of several spots where as many as a dozen people sleep on any given night.

While the home may be modest, even by Mauritanian standards, its most important feature is that it belongs indisputably to Mboirick and his family. For a man who was born into slavery, that’s the only thing that really matters.

Listen to Jillian Kestler-D’Amours discuss this article on WPR's Trend Lines Podcast. Her audio begins at 25:01:

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