Fortress for a World Free of Violence Against Children: Open Letter to Father of Marieme and Ndeye - Two Girls, One Body

Fatima Wahab Babih
Posted January 26, 2019 from United States
Marieme and Ndeye
Photo Source: BBC News

My Dear Brother Ibrahima,

I write to say that the coverage on BBC about you and your two beautiful girls, Marieme and Ndeye, touched me profoundly. Your story shows how important it is for all of us to go the extra mile to protect children from all forms of violence; your strength in faith and your boundless love and protection for your daughters are to be emulated, especially in this world of ours that is becoming more and more myopic and unsafe for our children.

As my dear sister friend (Meita), who has strong Christian faith, said to me 18 years ago, when I was facing challenges raising my autistic daughter, who was a toddler at that time, "God could not have given that child to any other mother but you, because He knows your heart." 

Well, my dear brother Ibrahima, I would say the same to you, that the Most Gracious, Most Merciful, could not have given Marieme and Ndeye to any other father and mother but you and your wife. As I understand it, the Almighty created the worlds and put everything on earth first before creating humanity, through Adam and Hawa (Eve), so that we may have all that we need for sustenance. In this same light, the Almighty created you, and made you His faithful servant, with a heart and mind of a true Khalifa, before entrusting His most precious Creations, Marieme and Ndeye, to you. You were chosen to receive them because no one could love, care and protect them better than you.

Your decision to take Marieme and Ndeye out of Senegal was the best thing you could have done for them. There is no telling what could have become of them by now. My heart bleeds for the many children in Africa and other parts of the world today, who are not in such safe hands and are facing violence in a variety of ways, in their homes and communities. Last year, just before the general elections in Sierra Leone, a child was kidnapped and killed, his dismembered body was found in a house in Freetown, the capital. The killing was believed to have been for ritual purposes that demand body parts of special children. There are also men all around the world who prefer sex with little girls; recently, in a village in Liberia, an 11-year-old school girl was violently raped and killed by a 71-year-old man. And of course, the ritual killing of albinos in East, South and West Africa, has now come to the world's attention. These vicious violent acts against children are rampant on our continent and beyond, which should make safeguarding children a top priority for all parent, communities and governments.  

Learning about your flight from Senegal also triggered a childhood memory for me when my mother and grandmother faced a similar, but less serious, situation in Sierra Leone.

I must have been around seven or eight years old, I traveled with my mother and grandmother to a small village, where we spent the whole day for a family gathering, and we were to leave the next morning. But in the middle of the night, my mother woke me up and told me we had to leave. I remember being carried by one of our menfolk, with my mother walking in front of him, my grandmother behind him and a few other folks in front of my mother and behind my grandmother. This walking fortress walked on a narrow feeder road, in one file, to the next village. My folks were chanting some melodies all along the way, which lulled me into a deep sleep by the time we arrived in the next village. We caught the first vehicle back to our village first thing the next morning.

My grandmother explained to me later, that she had received a tip that evening that the witches in that village were determined to take me, the “light skin stranger child.” Apparently, light skin children are rare in this part of the world, and witches have special cravings for them in their rituals. My grandmother said she did not want to take them seriously at first, until around midnight when the house we were sleeping in was surrounded by the sound of the witch bird (not sure what it’s called, but Sierra Leoneans call it Korkor by the sound it makes).

So, my grandmother and her folks decided it would be best to leave but in a ceremonial fashion, because witches hate publicity, hence the chanting. I remember my mother and grandmother being anxious and worried as we were getting on the road, but I felt no fear or angst that night because there was a fort built around me, of people who loved me, surrounding, protecting me and ready to stand up and face any daemon to keep me safe. Every child deserves love, care, and a fortress to protect her or him, regardless of what body or land they are born.

You, my dear brother, have done the same for Marieme and Ndeye; they are safe in your hands and in the fortress, you have built around them, albeit in some hardship. Marieme and Ndeye are two beautiful souls that the Almighty, the Most Merciful, in His infinite wisdom, has wrapped in one body and given not just to you and your family, but to the world as a manifestation that “(He is) Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests” (55:17).

To the spiritually myopic, the girls are “abnormal,” but to you and the rest of us, who see them in Devine Light, Marieme and Ndeye are perfect; they are no different from any “normal” children that were born before them and have been born since and will continue to be born. They are not here for ritual sacrifice.

The doctors know their work very well, and they tell us that Marieme has a weak heart. Yes, that worries you, me and all whose hearts have been touched by your adorable daughters. This is our humanity exhibiting; we worry when we do not understand a situation or see an immediate solution.

But we must fight not to allow fear of an unknown future cloud our view of the inherent blessings of having these two beautiful gifts, two souls to love and adore in this present moment, in which their presence brings strength in faith to those who appreciate the Almighty's Favors in all forms.

Let us not worry or be too concerned about life “expectancy.” That is the Will of the Almighty, and if anyone needs to worry, let the doctors and scientist worry about it, it is their domain. As you rightly pointed out, all you can do is give your continued love, care, and protection of these precious gems that our Merciful Creator has picked you, His humble and faithful servant, as their caretaker.    

Rest assured, I and many others around the world continue to pray relentlessly for the Almighty to strengthen you in faith, keep you and your girls fit in body, mind, and spirit. And to the Almighty, we surrender all our worries and concerns about Marieme, Ndeye and all the children of the world, and we thank Him for all His Favors. In all that you are doing, remember the Almighty's admonition in sura Ibrahim:

And [thus], indeed, have We sent forth Moses with Our messages [and this Our command]: "Lead thy people out of the depths of darkness into the light, and remind them of the Days of God!" Verily, in this [reminder] there are messages indeed for all who are wholly patient in adversity and deeply grateful [to God] (14:5).

Thank you for sharing your story! May the Almighty increase you in patience and gratitude!!

Love & Light to Marieme, Ndeye and your family!

Please read the story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/Wales_conjoined_twins

Comments 10

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jlanghus
Jan 27
Jan 27

Hi Fatima,

Thank you for sharing your loving post about Marieme and Ndeye. I'm extremely impressed by the commitment, love and protection that their father is showing them. I wish all fathers shared these traits toward their children, especially girls who don't always receive the love and protection that they should. I hope he is able to make a decision that he can live with the rest of his life. It's not going to be an easy one for sure, and I kept wondering as I was reading the story, "how does the mother feel," and "what does she want?" Both of them need to make this life-changing decision together.

Fatima Wahab Babih
Jan 27
Jan 27

Thanks sis. Jlanghus! He really is a great role model for fathers. I do hope his story inspires fathers all around the globe. The BBC article’s silence about the mother crossed my mind too, but I’m sure there is a good reason she is not in this story. And I guess the report focused on the girls’ being in London, and the father’s experience in UK. If the mother did not travel with them, I imagine how painful it must be for her not to be with her babies. Hopefully she is in all decisions making about the girls and is connected to them by some means, as that would be in the best interest of the girls.
Thanks & take care!

jlanghus
Jan 28
Jan 28

You're welcome:-) Yes, he is! Me, too.

Exactly. Yes, it would be painful and stressful for her, I would think. Yes, I hope so, too.

You, too, dear.

Fatima Wahab Babih
Jan 28
Jan 28

I read somewhere last night that the mother originally traveled with them to UK, but had to return to look after her other children. Knowing how commited the father is and the great job he is doing, i am not surprised that the mother felt comfortable leaving the girls with him.

jlanghus
Jan 28
Jan 28

Yes. I read that. Yes, perhaps, or maybe she felt like she didn't have a choice, too.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Thanks Fatima for such a lovely story. He is truly a remarkable father. Any other african would have ababdoned them in the hospital they day they were born. I salute him for being an inspiration to many more fathers anf aspiring young fathers.
Thank you for sharing.

Fatima Wahab Babih
Jan 28
Jan 28

Thanks sis. Anita. The sad truth is that some of our folks are controlled by superstition. A child born with special needs is mostly seen as a curse, and would suffer abandonement and sometimes death. His fight to save these girls is an inspiration for all to see that all lives are precious and worth preserving. Take good care!

Tola Makinde
Feb 07
Feb 07

Thanks for sharing. Most father's take flight. God bless him

SanPatagonia
Feb 10
Feb 10

Dear Fatima,
I was so mesmerized by your story and the lives you brought to our attention, including your own.... Indeed there's a Force that knows the hearts and blesses them with the love, strength and wisdom they need to make their choices in life.
Thank you for sharing! Love and light for you too, girl.

Beth Lacey
Feb 16
Feb 16

This father is an excellent role model