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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Femme Special: There's something about Fatou

I met Fatou while I was in Liberia, her smile and warmness immediately captivated my spirit. Fatou worked as a waitress in the hotel I was staying in for work. Immediately when she found out I was Sierra Leonean she was even nicer to me as she shared she was a Sierra Leonean working and living in Liberia. You must be wondering why Fatou is so important for Femme Special Because as much as Fatou will never write a story on Women Change Africa I felt that I needed to share her story along with many other young women such as her. Fatou shared with me that she had moved to Liberia since the war happened in Sierra Leone and Liberia had been home to her, she had a beautiful smile and her eyes lit up as she shared some of her dreams with me. When I asked her what she would like to do in life she mentioned she wanted to finish school and possibly own a restaurant or hotel or her own some day. I was so inspired by her aspirations and told her that anything she set her mind to she can make happen. But did I really believe this for her? See when I asked Fatou if she has ever travelled to Ghana or Freetown both countries really close to her she replied no that she had never travelled anywhere. I was in shock and immediately had a moment of gratitude to God for his blessings. I realized at that moment that only difference between me and Fatou was that I had been blessed to receive more opportunity than her. She was just as smart, beautiful, ambitious and with an amazing spirit. After she served me my meal at the restaurant I thanked her and kept reflecting. What will happen to her? Will she ever travel anywhere? I realized this is the reality for many girls in Africa the hope is there but the opportunity doesn't exist for them. I hope to meet many women like Fatou and be able to share their stories. They too are Bosschiques and should be celebrated. If provided the right economic opportunities women such as Fatou will be doing even more amazing things in their societies, but that day, that moment, those opportunities were just not there. Fatou is doing the best that she can do and with a little opportunity can do more, but for now all I can do is share her story and allow those who are fortunate enough to reap benefits be inspired, and possibly find ways as leaders in their communities to create better lives for women such as Fatou. 

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  1. This is an interesting take. Tjank you for sharing. There are countless of Fatou's in this world. I don't think that the lack of education and travel opportunities make them doom. In Africa, the wisest and sometimes most successful people are not educated.

    What I think the approach should be is to give th emeans and training (different than education) to perfect her skills in hospitality services and to open her own restaurant. The experience she has built up and the passion that burns through her are enough to change the tides of her current situation.

    In any case, this is a financial issue, so simple and so easy to solve that it is sad to know thta we're still at that stage. Any one of us who can mentor and financially assist the Fatou's of this world would greatly contribute to empowering women.

    Education is key but when not an opportunity, let's find other ways. At the end of the day, we all want to be financially ok and happy with what we're doing.

    Thanks again!
    Siya Tiane

    1. Thanks for expressing your views Siya! I think it is definitely important to have multiple avenues for women in Africa to succeed both economic and education , and as you beautifully put the lack of travel or educational opportunities doesn't doom them.


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