Yesterday, the world unified for a brief moment to celebrate the greatest gift of God to mankind. And no, I am not talking about the Iphone. It was International Women’s Day, a day when the world celebrates the achievements of women, on a personal and professional level.
I have always had the utmost faith in my gender. We women are strong, capable individuals that can do anything. However, our biggest strength lies in our compassion. I have always been surrounded by strong women.
My mother is an amazing person. Growing up, she worked herself raw so that I and my brother could have the things we needed and more often the things we simply wanted. She worked extra hard so that we could go to America and get a college degree. I did not come from a well off family, but I will tell you, there was not a day when I felt lacking for anything. She always told me, there is no word such as can’t, remove it from your dictionary. Today, I even tell my own children that. She brought me up well and with a confidence to take on the world. I could never have done the things I do today without her belief in my abilities.
My Grandma, was also an amazing woman. She was a principal at her school in Goa, India. I still remember our vacations when we would visit her. From her, I learned how to be strong. My daughter is named after her for her strength and intelligence.
My life too has been affected in an indirect way by Yeah’s mother Sanamba Samake. This was an amazing woman. The first wife in a polygamist relationship, I can only imagine her pain at sharing her husband. Losing two of her children, I cannot even start to imagine her pain. She is the reason Yeah is what he is today. She was his strength, his confidence and his beautiful spirit. He learned how to serve from his mother and his mother always knew and made him believe that he would do great things one day.
The Malian women are some of the strongest women I know. It is my firm belief that we are put in the circumstances that we can handle. I believe that God truly knew how strong the spirit of the Malian woman was when he destined her to Mali. These women are up at the crack of dawn making breakfast. On average, each woman will bear about 6 children. In addition to caring for these children, she will cook, clean and make sure every child and man is fed before she feeds herself. Sometimes, she will go to the market and sell odds and ends to contribute. She is the first one to wake up each morning and the last one usually to go to bed. And the most beautiful part is she does this with a smile. Her spirit is rarely beaten.
I have been blessed to be born as a woman. I have learned much during my years but every day I learn new lessons on how to be a better woman for my kids and the community that surrounds me. We are never given a battle or a challenge that we cannot complete. I pray and hope that the blessings I have been given, I can in turn share with the women that surround me. I hope for a Mali, where women are educated. I hope for a Mali where girls are not circumcised against their will. I hope for a Mali where women are treated as an asset and not a work horse.
Join me today and celebrate the spirit that is Mali: the spirit of every woman. God bless women everywhere.