The Guardian

THE GUARDIAN ©Ariane KirtleyTHE GUARDIAN: Ibhahim with Soriya. Ibrahim is Halimata’s husband.  Like his wife, he is our guardian angel number 2. 

We first met Ibrahim as the night guard where we lived in Niamey twelve years ago. He and my husband Denis quickly became close friends, and stayed up together into the wee hours of the night drinking tea and chatting.

When we needed a guard for our home a few years later, Denis went around our old neighborhood looking for Ibrahim everywhere (Ibrahim didn’t have a cell phone and we had lost touch). We finally got an address and found him, Halimata, and their two girls (Marie and Cherifa) in a squatter hut on the outskirts of town.  They had no electricity or running water, and life was clearly tough for them. Ibrahim had been out of a job for almost a year. 

When we invited them to come live with us, and watch over our home when we were gone, they didn’t believe us.  Halimata feared we would kick them out quickly, as had happened to them in the past. After eight years of living with us, they are all dear members of our family. 

Like Halima, Ibrahim is also a second parent to my kiddoes.  He is an ever-loving playmate and one of the best dads I have ever met, and lets all the kids get away with pretty much everything.  He is also a very dear friend to me, and I am very grateful to have my special Ibrahim moments, on the rare occasions we go on early morning walks through Niamey.  He likes to think he is there as my bodyguard; I just enjoy our long talks and getting to better understand his world.