Sannu (sah-NOO). This is the way we greet people in our local language, Hausa. I'm Halima (Ha-LEEEE-mah), Abida and Noura's mother.

When I was young

You might think life is tough for Abida, but things were harder when I was young. Our village had no school so I never learnt to read and write. Instead I helped my mother look after our family.

Halima collects water for the day
Halima collects water for the day

We got our water from a hand-dug well 10 minutes walk from the house. The water had to be pulled up using rope and a container. Pulling up heavy containers full of water gave me painful shoulder muscles. My hands hurt from the rough rope. The well was uncovered so the water carried diseases that made us sick. During times of drought the well sometimes dried up. This made life very difficult.

Family life

Although collecting water is still an important part of my day, it's much easier now. The borehole well is closer and the hand-pump brings the water to the surface with less effort. The water is safe to drink, so my family is much healthier.

My other important daily activity is making hura – porridge made from millet (a cereal like wheat). Unless it is a special occasion, hura is what we eat for our two meals each day – breakfast and dinner.

First I pound the millet stalks to remove the husks to get to the grain. By winnowing I can separate out the useful part – the grain. I rinse this in a little water and leave to soak. Then I pound the grain to turn it into millet flour. I make the flour into balls and boil them for about an hour. More pounding crushes the flour balls making the porridge, which I mix with sour milk, more water and spices. It takes about three hours.

Halima winnowing
Halima winnowing

Making a living

Now I spend less time getting water, I have more time and energy to do other things. I helped start a business with some other women in the village. We make soap to sell at the local market. We've got big plans about how this extra income will help improve our family's lives. Working together is a great social time for us. We love the soap too. It makes our skin smooth, and is gentler than other soaps. It's also cheaper.

Future dreams

I am proud of my children and I love them very much. I hope they will have a better life than I have known. I want to see the borehole well be sustainable, and the village become more developed.

Find out more about my children, Abida and Noura, or my husband Mallam.