In this photo, my son Soriya gently kisses Fatoum Zara. Soriya’s name comes from the word Soyeya in Hausa, which means “love”. In Sanskrit, Soriya means “light”. If you know Soriya, then you know that he is a fiery ray of love and light. Fatoum Zara was named after me; Zara is the Djerma version of Alzhara, a beautiful evanescent flower of the desert. These two beings, so true to their names, made this moment of innocent love simply perfect. I had to share it with you.
This series of my children kissing their friends in Niger opens the door to my next series, which will be about my friends in our neighborhood in Niamey. The three children that they are kissing are important members of our neighborhood, two of which (Mariama and Fatoum Zara), are our housemates. Ibrahim and Halimata, their parents, are our best friends, and share our home. They care for it as their own when we are not in Niger. They care for us, as if we were their own, when we are in Niger.
Since these three photos also emanate pure love, let me share another beautiful quote on the selflessness of true love, by Robert Hugh Benson: “When a man falls in love, suddenly his whole center changes. Up to that point he has, probably, referred everything to himself – considered things from his own point. When he falls in love the whole thing is shifted; he becomes a part of the circumference; someone else becomes the center; for example, things he hears and sees are referred in future instantly to this other person. His entire life, if it is really love, is pulled sideways. He does not desire to get but to give. That is why it is the noblest thing in the world…”