Abida

Bonjour, je m'appelle Abida (AHH-be-dah).
Hello, my name is Abida. I am 10 years old.

Were you surprised I greeted you in French? I live in Niger and French is our official language. I am learning it at school. At home my family speaks our local language, Hausa.

School

Abida studies hard at school
Abida studies hard at school

I am in Year 4 at school. We study grammar, geography, history, maths and the environment. All our lessons are in French. Not every child in my village goes to primary school. Many children are too busy helping their family or their parents don't have enough money for books. Even if every child could go, our village school isn't big enough and we don't have enough teachers. So I study hard because I know how lucky I am.

Family life

I also do my share of the chores at home. Helping my mother get enough water for the day is the main one. After breakfast mum and I take our water containers to the hand-pump at the village well. It only takes two minutes to walk there. We pay 5 francs (2 NZ cents) each time we use this well but it's worth it. It's close, the water is safe to drink and it's easy to get.

Mum pumps the handle up and down to get the water. Once the container is full, I carry it back home, balanced on my head. I take small steps and have to concentrate so I don't spill any. I empty the water into the large storage jars

Abida and friends do the flying song
Abida and friends do the flying song
at our house. It takes six trips, back and forth for me, and a couple for my mum, to get enough water for half the day. We do this all over again before our evening meal. It's tough work but it's got to be done. Without water we can't survive.

Making a living

Saturdays are my favourite – it's market day in our village. Everybody is there, buying and selling. To help my family make ends meet I sell drinks of water to people who are too busy to fetch their own. One drink costs 5 francs (2 NZ cents). I usually make about 500 francs in a day (NZ$2).

Having fun

I enjoy relaxing with my friends. Our favourite pastime is singing and dancing. The flying song is a fun one. We take turns throwing one another in the air while singing, "My friends come together and meet. Go and meet the rain from the west."

Find out more about my brother Noura, my mother Halima, or my father Mallam.