zahra1

zahra1

We had been waiting for Senussi the tailor at Ali’s house for a good hour and were bored, so we decided to go out in the street for a distraction.
I saw a handicapped girl coming in our direction. I sent Ali to politely ask her if she belonged to Tahara’s association of handicapped women.
She answered that she was Tahira’s cousin and had been the founder of her group. She had also been the Secretary General on behalf of the association.
She was now directing another association that we knew nothing about.
The girl’s name is Zahra, and she walks with the help of a crutch, probably because of poliomyelitis.  She is coming from the school where she teaches the children.
She looks no more than 15 years old, still a child. Zahra seems really too young to be a Secretary General and a teacher, and I tell her this.
She smiles at me, flushing a little and says “I am older than 15”
– “How much older”, I insist .
– “I am 29.”
She takes my stupefaction as a compliment.
After a disagreement with her cousin, Tahara, she founded another association of only eight people. They meet every Sunday and bring a fee of 1000 francs, the whole sum is given in turn to one of the members.
They also have received a small donation from the Handicap International in Timbuktu, which is lent to the members in order to open small commercial activities.
I ask her if there are some interest rate to pay over the amount lent and she answers that yes, there is 10% interest.
“But this is not good, I exclaim, you are Muslims, you cannot be involved with interests. It is from the Koran that who takes interests has declared war to Allah and to his prophet.”
After talking about it for a while she says: “You are right, we shall stop this from now. It is true that our aim is to distribute the money that has been given to us, not to found a bank”.
I have promised to try to help them as we are trying to help Tahara’s association and to visit her in the next days.

I am impressed to see how destiny has made us meet. I tell Zahra that it is Allah who has arranged our meeting. Had we not gone out in the street to wait for Senussi who has been so late, we never knew that an other association for handicapped women existed in Timbuktu.

Zahra: tel. +223 61 84 249

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