Today I met Mariama I. (her nickname is Marie), one of the youngest sponsorship students. Marie comes from a family that is a member of the Fulani people group, which is different from the majority of our students who are Hausa. The Fulani are semi-nomadic people who often live in grass houses. This allows them to move more easily when need be.
Marie is the fourth child of seven siblings. It was her aunt who lives in the capital of Niger who convinced her parents to send her to school. She arranged for Marie to be in the sponsorship program because otherwise her parents would not be able to afford to send her to school. Her aunt is able to occasionally send a little money for incidentals like snacks or a pair of sandals, and is grateful for the additional support her niece is receiving.
Marie showed me her bed in the dorm where she sleeps and introduced me to her dorm mom, who is pictured to the right. I also saw her in action in her classroom. When I asked Marie what she likes about school, she immediately said her bed! The director of the school explained that that made sense because she now has more room and is up high.