Coura Fall

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My niece says she wants to quit school. She already finished middle school, she only has three more years left and she’ll be a high school graduate. Three years! That isn’t a long time! I told her, you want to be stupid like me? I can’t even read my identity card. I don’t know anything about what they learn in those books. All I know how to do is cook and sweep and work in the fields. Doesn’t she want to do something else? Doesn’t she want to be smarter than her mother and grandmother who don’t know how to read or write? Even if she knows how to read and write, doesn’t she want to be successful like her father? He has enough money he has a bank account and bought her a computer. I can’t even find someone to help get us a wheelchair for my disabled child. His legs are crippled, he’s handicapped. He crawls everywhere. He cries because he feels left out. If he had his own wheelchair he could at least go out and sit with the boys on his own, instead of needing someone to carry him over the hot sand. I can’t do anything but wash and feed him. I have no strength, I am a woman. I have no money of my own. Doesn’t she want money of her own? Women have to ask the man for money, tell them everything they need and how much it costs. I tell my oldest daughter to study hard. She is smart like her father so I know she will do well, but I like to remind her. She knows how school will help her and all of us. I miss her when she’s away. She studies in my hometown and comes home for the summers. It hurts me she’s far away and I wish we could talk on the phone more often but she says the school there is better than the one near here, so she lives with my mother and brother over there. My husband helped get her transferred. We all try to take little trips over to visit, bringing my youngest daughter Aisatou with us. They are really close. Sometimes I’ll go with Aisatou, sometimes my husband will go with her. I try not to stay away too long, people tease me about my husband being moody when I’m away. He says it’s because he doesn’t like his sister’s cooking, but, well, I won’t say what I really think. Aisatou just started school so now I don’t think we’ll be taking those trips with her. Her dad bought her a new backpack. I told him she didn’t need one because I sewed up the hole from her brother’s old bag, but he just looked at it and shook his head. Next day he comes back from the road town with a bright green bag and I wanted to yell at him for spending money, but I saw how happy Aisatou was so I kept my mouth shut. I really think she’s going to do well. She is so competitive and smart. Like me? (laughs) I don’t think so. I’m not smart. I just wash and feed my kids.