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Born on May 20, 1939 in Port-Louis, Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully lived a life filled with trials. Her childhood was marked by suffering and loss. At the age of five, she lost her mother, a departure that left an indelible mark on her heart. Before this tragedy, she suffered from infantile paralysis, a condition that prevented her from walking normally. Despite everything, she continued to fight because even after life did not give her any gifts.

It is in her modest home in Port-Louis that we went to meet Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully. The weight of age is visible on her face, marked by the trials of life. Her eyes, full of wisdom, tell a story of suffering, of struggle… Despite her smile, we can see that she has a heavy heart.

Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully, 85, is from Suriname. She is the eldest of two children. Life was not kind to her from childhood. “When I was little, I suffered from infantile paralysis. I couldn’t walk. However, my mother looked after me. She prepared warm baths for me and took care of me. By the grace of God, I was able to walk again. My mother was a caring woman,” she recalls.

However, life had other plans for her. She lost her mother when she was only five years old. A hard blow for this child. As a teenager, her father died. Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully and her two-year-old brother found themselves orphans. “When our mother died, my father never tried to remarry, preferring to raise his children alone. He died when I was 13 years old,” she said.

My life has been a succession of challenges, but I have never lost my smile”

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For more than three months, she has had difficulty walking and has to move around on all fours.

Growing up, Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully had to work hard to support herself and her brother. She did not have the opportunity to go to school, spending her childhood between the hospital and home, helped by generous relatives and neighbors who looked after the two orphans. “My life has been a succession of challenges, but I have never lost my smile or my faith in humanity,” says the one who worked as a cleaner.

Love and suffering

At the age of 17, 18, Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully married a man she loved. “He was close to my mother. He often came to visit the family in Suriname. That’s how I fell in love with him. Together, we built a life full of complicity and mutual support.

“Unfortunately, my husband passed away 50 years ago, leaving me alone to face the vagaries of life,” continues the octogenarian. Their union did not give them children, but their love left a lasting mark.

Today, at 85, Bibi Afroz lives in Port-Louis, surrounded by the affection of her relatives and neighbours. Despite the many health problems that have beset her over the years, she remains a figure of resilience. She can no longer walk and moves around with the help of her hands, on all fours, a daily challenge that she has faced with courage for more than three years. “It’s really difficult. My biggest problem is not being able to walk. I can’t do anything.”

“I try to manage to go to the toilet and such,” says the old lady.

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Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully lives alone in her house in Port-Louis.

Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully regularly receives visits from her brother and his children, as well as from caring neighbours. Even though she lives alone, she never feels lonely because of their support. One person comes to help her with the housework, and she pays her with her pension at the end of the month. “My children (referring to her brother’s children whom she considers her own) ask me to come and live with them. But I prefer to stay here. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. My children come to see me and make sure I am healthy,” she says.

In fact, her brother's children make sure she follows her medical treatments. “I spend my pension on buying medicines. Fortunately, I was able to start closing my fist again. I was sick recently, but by the grace of God, I am better,” she says.

Despite all the difficulties, Bibi Afroz Jaufuraully remains a joyful woman, avoiding conflicts and preferring to spread laughter around her. She has always been known for her indomitable spirit and her ability to find happiness in the little things in life. She continues to pray for peace and tranquility, hoping that she will one day be able to rest without pain and suffering.

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