Nearly every day, Mohamedou Ould Isselmou, a 37-year-old Mauritanian living in New York, leaves his fourth-floor Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment at noon and heads for a nearby halal café, where he works, often until past midnight. On some days, like today, the sky is gray, cold, and rainy, and Isselmou will tighten his hood as he rushes past a derelict lot opposite his building, past a large industrial pipe pouring clouds of steam onto the street, past a rundown corner liquor store. But no matter how dreary the trip, and no matter how long or tedious his working hours, he says he rarely loses grasp of the one reality that keeps him tethered to this city: He is living the life of a free man. Back in his West African homeland, he still... More >>>