Monday, January 21, 2008

Two updates:
1. Things are going relatively well for Aisha and her family. She explained to me that her father "put a blessing" on his children before he died. And what he did NOT do was give Aisha's half-brother living out in the village the power to marry off the girls. So, while Aisha won't be getting any help from the extended family (due to a longstanding feud between her father and his brothers) she doesn't have to face getting married to an elderly stranger, which happens to many young girls here. On the other hand, she has a severely mentally-ill mother and three primary-school aged siblings to support. They will also soon have a housing problem, as the people that own the two rooms where the five of them live want them to leave asap.
Besides some direct financial help to get them through this hard time, I also managed to get Aisha a contract to sew costumes for the school musical at the nearby International School. So, she's really pleased to have some well-paying work. As for the long term, I'd really like to be able to help her buy some inexpensive property to live on and open a small sewing business. I have already had a couple of wonderful people in the USA say they could chip in money to help her out. And I have some money set aside to contribute, too. Right now, Aisha is looking at places, trying to find someplace cheap, but not too far out of the city.

2. As for the Niger situation, here is a comment just posted by a good friend:
Thanks, Beth, for being one of the few people writing in English about the Niger situation. But hey, it's all fixed, no? The two French journalists who were detained--completely horribly--have been let out on bail. And that's all that matters, right? Of course, their local chauffeur remains in jail on serious charges; and Moussa Kaka, the radio journalist in Niamey, remains in jail; and Diallo, the writer for the Air magazine, is still jailed in Agadez; all on the same b.s. charges of helping the rebellion by just doing their job.

Let's hope that the same pressure that freed the French reporters is brought to bear to show the unjust treatment of their local counterparts. I'd love to believe we've moved beyond colonialism far enough to get there. Yeah, right...


Thanks for the guest appearance, MLW. You said it all.

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