Mother to her Brothers OR When Dreams are Lost:
Houlaye goes to school 2 or 3 times a week, if she is lucky. She likes school. A lot. She has big dreams to one day become a teacher. Yet how can she attend school when she spends hours every day fetching water? When she returns home, she cooks for her siblings, and cares for their every need.
Houlaye is Wodaabe. Her mother, like other Wodaabe women, leaves nearly 8 months a year to earn money in Nigeria or Chad selling traditional medicine. While her mother is away, Houlaye and her sister Fati care for their little 2 and 4 year-old brothers, and their 6 year-old sister. She insists that the 4 and 6 year-old go to school.
Houlaye and Fati alternate attending school. On the day that one goes to school, the other fetches water. And vice versa.
When I met Houlaye, her mother had already been gone for more than 2 months. There won’t be any way for her to recover all lessons she has missed throughout the year, leaving little possibility to attain her big dreams one day.