Cheikh Faye arrived in Spain almost 14 years ago, in A Coruña where he still lives to this day. He sells goods in a street market in Ferrol, things like leather belts, hand bags, wallets and teddy bears.
He’d rather be doing something else, he tells me, like working for some company in an office somewhere, but this how he has to make his living.
Back in Senegal, Faye was an elementary school teacher of geography and history. He misses teaching because it was his way of helping the next generation become successful.
“The best way to liberate yourself politically and economically is through education,” Faye said.
This was especially true in Senegal, he told me. Faye left Senegal because it’s a hard country to live in, he said. The country depends on agriculture for its economy and with constant droughts and a lack of water, problems arise.
Living in Spain also comes with its own set of challenges, Faye said. High unemployment among the Spanish makes it difficult for Faye to find better work, he said.
When he first arrived in Spain, Faye picked strawberries in the fields of Galicia alongside other immigrants and Spaniards. His job at the market has helped improve his living conditions and gain independence. However, he continues to look for opportunities to move upward and earn more, as difficult as it may be.
“Before hiring me, employers hire a Spaniard,” Faye said. “It’s a question of priority.
Unemployment is especially high among the country’s youth at almost 40 percent.