Safieta has been a big part of Giving Africa for many years – for those of you who have read my footer on my emails – it is her father who said in 2014 ‘my other children often go without food so that Safieta can go to school’. Every year that we have met her she has come out of her shy shell and spoken more about her wishes and dreams.
We met Safieta in her village of Tangaye – 10km from school. She had cycled to school and back for 7 years and is so proud to have passed her Baccalaureate (last years of secondary education) and have a place at university to learn English. Her dream is to be an English Teacher and to be a translator…. we hope she can be ours in years to come!
For girls such as Safieta and Alimata, staying at school this long is not easy – marriage can be as young as 14, and when parents struggle to feed their children, often marriage is the only way to ensure they will have food and support. We all know by now how important educating girls is – educate a girl and you educate a nation – and in seeing the strength of these girls it is easy to see that this is true. Alimata laughed when she told us she doesn’t want to marry – she is proud that she is still at school and able to be an independent girl….
As we sat by Safieta’s home – looking with western eyes on what seems to be a life that is lacking in so many ways – we asked her what she would change about her village – she replied with ‘nothing’. This may be a surprise for us, when we wish for a house that doesn’t risk falling down in the harmattan winds, with home decorations and comfortable beds instead of a thin mat, with a vehicle and a variety of food 3-4 times a day. But it was ‘nothing’…. ‘I love our village – we love each other, we live together, we eat together, we dance and laugh together and we are happy’.
On reflection she added – ‘what I would like is for us to have better nutrition, clean water and a stronger agriculture’…… not much to ask for….
So it is these moments that help define me – what moments have defined you? We don’t have to travel to Burkina Faso to experience life-definers – though I would welcome anyone that wishes to – but to look with fresh eyes around us, to those that inspire us, to those that may seemingly have nothing – but when you look closer at their smiles, their laughs – have so much more than what we see materially. And it is when you have those moments, it is the choice you make to use that experience to define you….to make that call that you just don’t have time for, to give to others your wealth – be it financial or emotional, to be more gracious, and to value your relationships with the wonderful people you are lucky to have in your life.
You can make a donation to Giving Africa and help children like Safieta and Alimata get a relevant education to raise themselves and their families out of poverty