Friday, December 19, 2008

Hadiza and high school


Anyway--I had a great conversation with Hadiza's parents, Mano, and A'i, whose willingness and open mindedness about girls' education is a progressive and impressive change for such a small remote village. A'i said "We're just glad our daughter is going to see more of the world." Awesome. Mano was already scheming about who would be willing to house Hadiza, and the headmaster, Shaibu, is working on submitting a transfer for her. Until last week we still didn't know for sure if Hadiza would be sponsored by YGSP or not, but either way I was determined to find a way to make high school happen...and now we know for sure: she is funded!

I picked up all sorts of goodies for her in NIamey. The YGSP assembled backpacks full of books, notebooks, pens, pencils for all of the girls. I'll get to take it back to her when I get home next week: I can't wait to see her face when she sees all of her new, shiny school supplies. I know that I got pumped to have new school stuff every year; even through college the sight of unused crayons was enough to get my adrenaline going. Imagine never having such stuff in your life!

And so you may wonder: what does Hadiza think of all of this? To be honest, I don't really know. She is a quiet, respectful girl whom I see at the well every afternoon, and who becomes giggly, animated, and goofy when she is with her friends. She was among the group of girls who came to my house every afternoon to sew sock dolls back in April; I knew she was one of only two there who were enrolled in school, and who could read. I didn't know what was at stake with the big test she must have been preparing for. I know that the challenge of moving to a new village and stepping into an unfamiliar social circle will be tough, especially for a 13-year old girl. I don't know what her greatest fears or apprehensions are, or even, honestly, if she wants to make this change. It appears that it's not exactly her decision to make; whether or not to go is mostly up to her I hope it is what she wants, or at least she can see that there is opportunity within her reach. She is young and bright, with a big year ahead of her.

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