THE GUARDIAN ANGEL: Halimata provides a comforting, loving knee for Indima, who is tired and sick, suffering from a skin rash. She is our guardian angel. Halimata — Marie, Cherifa, Abdoukarim, and Fatoum Zara’s mom — has lived with us for the past eight years. Halimata is not my best friend… no, she is more like my sister, and in an even bigger way a guardian angel.
There is never I moment when I cannot fully count on Halimata. She watches over me and my children, always making sure that she does everything she can to make us happy, to be helpful, to find solutions, to offer a kind ear, and to give bountiful love and comfort. She does this knowing that I am 100% there for her and her children also. We’ve “got our backs”, no questions asked.
At first, Halimata did not trust our friendship. She is shy and soft spoken, and from an extremely poor family. She considered me merely her boss, and feared me. And yet, in little time, she realized how earnest my love was for her kids, and consequently, for her and Ibrahim. She was amazed that I spent more time with her daughters than she did — taking them for long adventures around Niamey, helping them learn how to read and write, and eventually, traveling with them to France for months at a time — because I loved them and wanted to be with them, not because I had too. She had never had this type of relationship with anyone, much less a white woman. She learned she could trust me fully, that she could confide in me when she was sad, and when she was hospitalized, that I would gladly be there for her children. And in return, she does the same for me… not because I am her “boss” and she expects something from me, but because she truly loves and respects me.