Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sisters, Make Your Tomorrow Today (Education Before Marriage)

By Hasiatu Sali (First Published June 2014)


Hasiatu Ali: Tells her story
While at GBHS Nkambe I listened with alot of passion how young boys and girls argued on the importance of education to the girl child. The debate brought back to memory this small writeup by a Mbororo student. The American Embassy in Yaounde working in partnership with the Hope for the Needy Association-HOFNA and the Mandela Washington Fellows have embarked on a sustainable action with specific focus on understanding GBV and engaging men and boys in the fight against child trafficking, Child/early/forced marriage and other forms of Gender Based Violence.  Unlike many other noble souls who wrote and worked with the principle of sexual equality in mind the US Embassy and HOFNA took part of Mahatma Gandhi theory into the feild so as to  sought to bring about a revolutionary change in the status of women.  
The views expressed by the Mahatma and the actions undertaken by him may not go entirely with the current times because the times have irreversibly changed but the honesty of the Mahatma, the love and respect he had for women can never be doubted. He said that education enables women to uphold their natural rights.  Men and women are complementary to each other.  Man is supreme in the outward activities and therefore he should have a greater knowledge thereof.  Home life is entirely the sphere of woman and therefore in domestic affairs, in the upbringing and education of children women ought to have more knowledge.
The Mahatma’s views on women’s education are based on family ideals because he assumes that man is supreme in the extra-mural activities and that woman is supreme in intra-mural activities.  Hence, education imparted to both men and women should be according to their pre-ordained stations in life. The fon Budi III in his presentation at the workshop in Nkambe disclosed that in the past young Mbororo girls of nine years old were given out for marriage while in some palaces young girls or teenagers were (are) forced against their will to marry a fon and notables. (Read writeup below)

When I was a little girl, I knew life was about cattle and the daily washing of dishes. As a little
Mbororo girl I was always beside my mother and my best moment was when she would ask me to fetch water from the stream so that she could wash all the dishes. It was so thrilling and I enjoyed the way my mother was doing it. I knew nothing on earth was more prestigious than what my mother and father used to do everyday to keep our family happy. I knew nothing about education as a way of life and the only way to make tomorrow happen. To be candid, I had no idea why only boys were going to school. To me, school was for boys and going to the stream and cooking was for girls. One day, my father came
back from a meeting looking happy. He told us that we will all have a discussion after dinner. We were all waiting anxiously both boys and girls. After our evening meal, he asked my elder brothers whether they knew anything about the Mbororo Cultural and Development Association-MBOSCODA. When they said yes, he replied that they want all the girls to go to school and that in our compound school shall henceforth be for everyone. He then turned to me and said that I shall go to the Islamic Primary School Nkambe. I felt very bad that he was trying to push me aside from helping my mother. That night I did not sleep well because I thought my father wanted me to do what only boys in our compound have been doing. In fact, I thought my father wanted to impose on me things that are done by boys and men. But I first day in school turned out to be an exciting one because I saw many other girls.
Education suddenly became part of my menu. When I had my First School Leaving Certificate, and was admitted at GTHS Nkambe that was when I understood the importance of education. People always say that education is the key to a successful life but I will contextualize it by telling all the young girls (ages 15 and above) that you can make your tomorrow happen today by investing your leisure in education. Dear sisters, you can make your tomorrow today through education. I have decided to tell my life story because I have observed that despite the sacrifices byt government and our parents for some of us to make our tomorrow today, we still disappoint them. In the past, we, Muslim girls were not given the opportunity to go to school, the boys were but today it is different. I feel sad that this opportunity is being squandered by many of us (especially the Mbororo girls).
However, I wish to draw your attention to this fact and at the same time remind all of us if you make education your first husband, it can never fail. An educated housewife is more productive in our contemporary society. On the contrary we are the ones that have always fail education. Education is like the soil where you can only harvest what you have sown.  Today, the evidence is clear that those who own the high herds of cattle and highest number of dishes in their cupboards are the people who sent their children to school. What I have learnt as a High school student is that my going to school has finally taught me that whenever you have a goal, it's a good idea to have both a plan A and a back-up Plan B, unless you are illiterate. What I mean here is that early marriage is the easiest way to frustration and you can avoid if we (young girls) can think out of the box of pleasure. When I was reading a book two days ago, I saw this inspirational quote by Jarod Jintz and it read: The future is right around the corner from a bar called, “Yesterdays.” I know, I work there every tomorrow.
I think it is possible for us to make education our first husband because without education, a woman’s dream cannot come true. It is not only the key of life as we are often told, but the key in your hand that will open every door for you tomorrow. When I was in class six, a friend of mine told me that after our graduation she was getting married. As I am writing my Baccalaureate Technique, she is already a mother of three. But unfortunately she had abandoned the husband on grounds that she made the wrong choice. I have learned one thing that while her husband disappointed her, mine which is education has been very fateful. Every time I am back from school and I see my father coming back from the field, I always think of what he said to me when I obtained my CAP examination. He said “my daughter, I am proud of you”. The sentence was very short but pregnant with meaning. Please, girls do not always disgrace your parents or family due to useless boys who would always like to play us around for their sports. It is your tomorrow that is at stake because HIV/AIDS too is just next door waiting to make new victims.  

Tyron Edward says, “Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny” in my opinion,  it is what we think today and act that puts forth our tomorrow. Think positive and you will see your tomorrow today by the grace of Allah. Social prestige is equal to social ill given that it can be a good choice at a very wrong time. Making the right choice at the right time paves way for a better tomorrow. That is the quality of life that we need to pay after the price of the bars called “yesterday”, when the night clubs and other fancy things are forgotten. That is why all successful people (men and women) are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal is only possible if we think education, eat education and above all, make it a tradition in our hearts. In the past, our parents had no idea that what a man can do a woman can do it even better, but nowadays it is happening.



When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

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