A woman that I admired and hoped would be a friend asked me for money. She didn’t target me because I am the American with the alleged pockets full of cash but because she really needs the financial help and has approached many people in her community. Not wanting to set a dangerous precedent, I told her I wasn’t allowed to do such a thing. She understood, but it broke my heart to say no. I felt worthless
She grabbed my Hausa book and sounded out phrases in her native tongue and mine. She repeated the Hausa statements a few times until she recognized the sounds enough to identify the true pronunciations. With English, he worked each word, perking up when one was familiar, such as “going.” At 28, she has five children and has been married half of her life. She didn’t go far in school but her willingness to learn is still there. One of my primary projects will work with young girls to take a different path than this woman, but her effort sparked a bit of hope for my work to come.
While walking, a group of girls asked me to stop in their concession to see a new baby. I recognized these students from the premiere school so agreed to some baby holding. With the newborn in my hands, the mothers talked the hand-washing project I did at the school a few days earlier. In my eyes, the project was a disaster. I didn’t plan for the large, unruly crowd of Nigerien students and was stumped in how to calm them down and didn’t. Also, I didn’t have enough language for my entire message so it came across jumbled and diluted. It was a lesson learned without impacting a single student. Or at least I thought. As the women talked, a young girl who was present at the demonstration start to practice the hand-washing method I taught her. She got it. She understood.
In a day, I saw all sides of helping. Sometimes, I won’t be able to help. Sometimes, I’ll be inspired. And other times, someone, even just one person, will benefit from something I did.