“I am free”

Nana and Cherifa

Nana is on the right, her sister Cherifa is on the left

One of the girls who stays in the dorm at Tsibiri and attends middle school in Nana. Nana is in the 3rd year of middle school and will take the national exam at the end of this year. If she passes she will be able to attend high school. She comes from a village near the border of Nigeria. Many years ago her father was shot and killed by a border patrol guard by accident. Nana’s uncle immediately intervened and sent Nana and her sister Cherifa to the boarding school at Tsibiri. He knew that if the girls went to live with their mother’s family they would not have the opportunity to go to school. Instead, they would stay at home, help around the house and be married off at a very young age. I asked Nana if she preferred to be at school or at home with her family, she did not hesitate when she responded with “school.” I was moved by her response when I asked her why. She said, “Because I am free.”

Cherifa is Nana’s sister. She will need a scholarship to stay at the Tsibiri boarding school next year in order to attend middle school.