This school year, the Agadez Learning Center has welcomed 13 new students. None of the 7th grade students have ever been to Agadez before, so city life and being away from home are all challenges to conquer, aside from the trials and tribulations of middle school age life in general. After six years in the familiar setting of their village school with extended family and close friends, they are once again at the bottom of the ranks. Many lean on the center as a place to make new friends and as a support system for any problems they may encounter. The new students have made great progress in bonding with the older students and feeling like they have a home away from home.
“When I came to Agadez, I found the city very tight. All the houses were so close together with so many people. There is no fresh air in the city. I like the afterschool courses a lot. They explain much more to us [than in class]. We can ask questions. They explain to us when we make a mistake. In class they only ask questions until they get the right answer, but they do not explain. We can also use the classrooms at night to study because we have light. I like that Hawa comes to cook for us. We have more time to study.”
“I am happy to be at the center with my big brother Ghissa. He helps me to study. I like to live with the other girls in the room. I have made new friends. I didn’t know any of the Tuareg girls. Now, we tell stories with each other and laugh. We help each other with our school work. When I grow up I would like to be a nurse to care for the sick people in my village.”
“I am the first child to study in my family. I have four brothers. At the center I like the school materials and wearing a uniform. It makes me feel like I am a big student in middle school. The rooms we have are so nice, too. If I was in Ingal, we would have to buy our own food with money that our parents give us. We would have no help with our studies. I like that the older students at the center help me with math and English.”
Mahmoud and Ghoumar
“When we first came to the city we saw so many cars. It was so busy, with so many roads. It’s confusing. Everyone speaks Hausa and we do not even know how to greet. When we saw our room, we saw that we have beds, a mattress, and a mosquito net instead of the palm frond mats that we would have slept on if we went to study in Iferouane. We have new friends now. The older boys help us with our French. We all play ball together. We can also study at night because we have light. We enjoy familiar foods like rice and beans, millet and milk. Our favorites are the peanut butter sauce and the Sunday meat and bread. Our afterschool teachers help to prepare us for class. Sometimes we learn things before our lesson the next day, so that we will understand them better in class. Other times they help with what we learned that day.”
Assalama - 2014 Graduate
“One thing that has touched me during my time at the learning center is living together with my Wodaabe friends, who I call my sisters. Despite the differences that exist between us [Tuaregs], they are all nomads. The center has shown me that it is possible to live with others despite differences.”
Fatima - ALC Graduate
Fatima is now attending agricultural technical school. She has completed her class credits and is writing her dissertation on growing onions during the rainy season in Agadez.
Ahmoudou - ALC Graduate
Ahmoudou is in his senior year at technical school, studying engineering with a focus on mapping.
WATCH ALC students dancing together
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