Some of you may have already read the first post I wrote about Fati, but I felt it was worth publishing again. So, for those who don’t know her, this is what I have to say. She is the purest example of strength and ability to love, forgive, and be joyful.
I met Fati when she was only 16. Her daughter Mariama, only a few months old at the time, was her second child. She had lost her first during childbirth. A year later, she fell pregnant with Moussa.
When Denis and I learned that Fati was regularly beaten by her husband, we fought to help her obtain a divorce. Her ex-husband’s family took Moussa and Mariama away, rarely allowing Fati to see her children.
Soon thereafter, Fati’s family married her to a wealthy old man. With him, she bore Raichatou. He divorced Fati on the day of their daughter’s baptism. When Raichatou was old enough, he took her away. Once again, Fati was left alone in sorrow.
One evening, soon after Mariama turned eight years old, Fati received a call from her former husband. Mariama was convulsing from high fevers. She arrived too late, and found Mariama lying still in bed, never to awake.
Two years later, I received a call at 9PM from Fati. Moussa, who had just turned eight, was convulsing from fever. Worn out from the day, and not completely understanding Fati’s broken French, I said I would visit Moussa the next day. Ever the soft-spoken, Fati did not insist. When we arrived the following morning, Moussa was limp, seemingly lifeless. We rushed him to a clinic in Niamey. A few hours later, Moussa died in Fati’s arms.
At the tender age of 24, Fati had lost three children, and was not allowed to see her fourth. And yet, she never stopped smiling, and her faith in God never wavered. Today, Fati is remarried to a man that loves her. They have two sons.