Little Nancy's life changed on the 19th of March, 1989, at the tender age of 4, when the father – carrying her together with the twin brother – escaped a bad situation in Congo and sought political asylum in Switzerland.
With her twin brother, Archimède, she left a home, family, friends and even her mother behind and started a typical refugee life. A life chosen, not on her own volition, but destiny (or her father?) forced on her.
There she had to share almost everything with fellow refugees – a chaotic house, hectic bathroom, grimy toilet, messy kitchen, etc.! In her words: "It was seven years of boredom and depression for my father, but I was happy because I could play with the other children" "Needless to talk of the constant fear of being deported back to Africa if her father's asylum application was rejected", she added in reminiscence.
When the family finally got a residence permit, it allowed her to get education and work. She trained as a carer, and the twin brother, Archimède, as an IT engineer. For their father, it was a reversal of fortune, as the qualified journalist got a job as a warehouse worker – where he still works.
Nancy and her brother have a lot in common, she admits. They share a 3-bedroom apartment together in Geneva; both are passionate sports lovers and are of equal height – 1.76 metres. She plays basket ball and he's into soccer.
While she's shy and likes to keep to herself, and that perhaps explains why in spite of the difficult environment she grew up, she still shunned smoking and alcohol.
Archimède was the opposite. He's an outgoing person and if you're in Geneva, you could hear if he's laughing in Zurich. Perhaps, that's why many women fell for him during their school days.
He feels he's responsible for his sister. She washes, cooks and irons for him and he takes care of her PC problems. "He's also like my minder and helps me a lot, though he could be a macho sometimes", she confesses.
And the mother they left behind in Congo? She was already 13 years when her mother joined them in Switzerland. Not unexpectedly, distance had already done its worst to the relationship – as both parents didn't live too long together before they separated. But Nancy and Archimède still meet their mother. In fact, since about the begining of the year my mother and I are like close friends.
"If my sister wins, then I'll also go for Mr. Switzerland next year!" Archimède quips.
Who says she cannot write history?
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