THE INCONSISTENCIES OF PARENTHOOD: This photo depicts Salah and his youngest daughter. Salah is one of my best friends from the Azawak. He is married to the outspoken Raichatou, the leader of women in our community of Tangarwashane. Proud of his delicious cooking, he relishes making tagala (sand bread) when I visit. Like most Touareg fathers I know, he adores his children, and spends much of his time cuddling with them. He even opened part of his home to start the first school of Tangarwashane.
And yet, certain things that Salah does leaves me baffled. Salah leaves his family sometimes over six months a year, often as a migrant worker. But when he leaves Raichatou, he does not tell her where he goes. He does not leave money. This leaves Raichatou in a state of extreme poverty, confusion, and insecurity. In the past, she was left begging for food and money.
Today, through Amman Imman, we have supported her to gain financial autonomy so that she can manage when Salah leaves the family. To me, the story of Salah demonstrates some of the challenges of parenthood, particularly under conditions of dire poverty and difficulty.