For all fathers
It is challenging to get married, but it is a fascinating and engaging to have children and raising them. One of my best days in my life are to witness the birth of my kids, I in large part assisted of all the birth of my children. It was a real life experience, from the first signs of my wife pregnancy, I was involved, it was not an engagement in the first place, but because my wife did not understand the language of the country we were living, and I was also really curious to know the all process as an intellectual and responsible to look after her as we were far from home.
In Senegal until recently pregnancy and child birth are still the women's domain, they don't involve men in the process unless the baby is born or to tell the men that it is time to go to the hospital. As most of my family life, I did it in foreign countries, I decided in early stage to know the woman pregnancy and how to care for a baby from day one. I learned from school, books, the doctors and nurses how a baby develop from her mother's womb by scanner, the size of the stomach and the position of the baby etc. I use to watch the baby jumping up and down excited, wake up or sleeping. It was fascinating to learn how to communicate with the baby in the mother's womb. With modern science, the sex of the baby can be known at three months in the womb at high percentage by the presence or not of the testicles.
The most amazing was when my wife was laboring our first child. She begins laboring at 4 AM, we arrive at the hospital at 7 AM. When the situation begins unbearable, I ask the doctors the time exact she will give birth. Her doctor told me at least after five hours. It was tough and upsetting to wait, so the doctor has to change his mind immediately and tell me an hour she will give birth. But later on, I find that it was a way to reduce my stress because it was terrific till the child was born. It is hard to describe my feelings but during the 30 first seconds after the birth of the baby, I was full of joy, standing in the middle of the birth room with an strange feeling of laying on my death bed, thinking of the crossing of two worlds one which begins for the baby and the other which is about to ends for me( It comes in my mind that even if I was dead today somebody(the baby ) will guarantee my heredity. This is the basic instinct since millions or billion of years all living organisms try to maintain their reproduction, which were expressed during those 30 seconds.
During my wife's pregnancy as I mentioned above, I read couple of books on how to care for a new born. After attending four weeks courses with a major nurse my wife and I begin a journey of taking care of the new born. A very delicate human being who needs 24 hrs care and love. We met with lovely and professional group of gynecologues, pediatrics and nurses in Japan. They help us as a young couple understand how to care for the new born. We experienced the baby's behavior through trials and errors which are specific to each family.
Dealing with my kids make me remember my father who was so devoted to his family. He use to go to the market buy goods specifically quality fish, meat and vegetables and everything else for the family. He use to help my mom babysitting the children while she was cooking. Back then, it was unusual to see a male household buying vegetables, meat and fish for his family or babysitting in a regular basis, it was an activity left for ladies.
When it comes to food, I was so picky that my father use to send my elder brothers to find for me my favorite food in the neighborhood. My father was my best friend, but he was strict when it comes to education, my elder brothers graduated from coranic school. I was the first one who went in french system of education after a short time in the coranic school, my brothers convinced my father that french education will be important in the near future and the family should be ready for the challenge of this coming century. By the advice of my brothers, I was sent to school not for my own good but the whole family and my community. That hope they had on me is still a motivation in my daily life. I was blessed to get this entourage, and their effect on my education shaped my life and helped me have a positive attitude even during difficult times of my life. I believe on gift and talent but you have to be lucky enough to be surrounded by the right persons who can help you to exist and strive. It is our responsibility to give our kids a better education than ours, because the opportunities for them are bigger than ours but theirs responsibilities will be bigger too.
When we were kids most of our parents didn't have the opportunity to go to school or to study Sciences, Engineering, Economic, Biotechnology, Computer Sciences, Information Technology etc. We are lucky enough to travel and acquired most of those skills. Our children will have the opportunity to build their future on those skills and the quality of the education they will receive. Education is key to the success of any society. So how to involve all children with a model no child left behind to give them all the necessary education they need to be good citizen. There's no better investment than to invest in young generations. The education of all children must be under the supervision of government and the parents or guardians. To build a better nation, we need good parents, guardians, and an excellent up to date system of education.
Djibril Ndiaye Ph.D.
NB: Special thanks to Cheikh Ahmed Tidjane Sy Al Makhtoum whom I never met physically, for his inspiration