Swimmin’ & Studyin’

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Who said a classroom had to have four walls?

As a single working mother, Habbie rarely has a break, so I thought it’d be fun to move our study session to the riverside on her day off. She’s studying to take the high school exams, so she can meet the prerequisites for nursing school.

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Habbie wasn’t able to take her Grade 12 exams after being forced into marriage a few months before the tests. She eventually escaped her abusive husband. Determined to fulfill her lifelong dream, she took some nursing courses from missionaries who knew her story. Now she works at the mission-led hospital in Sibanor, but she’s hoping to land a bigger and better job in the city by earning her official certification through the university.

Since we’ve been able to carve out some time under the guise of studying over the past few months, we’ve basically been inseparable. We really do study, but after class we spend another hour chatting and watching Grey’s Anatomy. It’s done wonders for both our sanities as of late. Sometimes I forget I’m still in The Gambia when I’m hanging out with Habbie because I can actually be myself. And for her, it’s a much needed escape from the stressors of motherhood.


It has been great to finally be able to help Habbie with something since she has been the one helping me my entire service! She has been by my side, leading me through the intricacies of her culture from Day One. She has shared her story to empower other girls at a couple Peace Corps leadership camps. And she is also helping me teach girls in our community how to make reusable pads to better manage their menstrual cycles.

In short, this little lady is a big inspiration – and I’m lucky to call her my friend.

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