Often, when people asked me who my hero was, the only answer that came to me was, my mother.
Don’t get me wrong, she is still my hero. After raising seven kids and making sure that every one of them never went to the wrong side of the tracks, I would be a fool not to consider her as my hero. See, a mother is the closest hero a person could have. Especially for those who have not ever came across other people that had a big impact on their lives.
That is why I think that a little exposure can change everything. Although Hajera Abdulahi is still my biggest hero, a great couple has been added to my list.
I first met Professor Habib and his wife Tata Yassine at a conference Habib organized at ECA. I was hired to work with Habib on some word documents for 2 days which then turned into 6 days. During this conference, I got really close with professor Habib, who kept introducing me to people as his daughter. This is also where he introduced me to his amazing wife Tata Yassine, whom he calls “Nefsu”. Nefsu in their local language means “my soul”, also in Amharic which we call “Nefse”. Then I got closer with Tata Yassine when she took me to her homeland, Dakar, Senegal, for a training she had going on.
Now, how do these two random people I met, as a coincidence, be considered as my heroes, you ask?
Well, the first word I would like to use is education. Coming from one of the top 25 poorest countries in the world, and being as educated as they are, inspires me. Education is the most important thing for them. Habib is a professor at a university in New York and Yassine works with the United Nations in New York as well.
The second word would have to be chemistry. I LOVE the chemistry between them. She is this very strong and opinionated woman, and he is this calm and collected man. When Yassine talks you always hear the anger in her voice. You can hear the strength and power. When she keeps going on and on about something, he just touches her arm softly and says, “Yassine”, she just calms right down and comes back to normality. Just the fact that from that big city, two strong people found each other, to build a stronger family for over 35 years, inspires me more.
The last world I want to use is support. I saw Yassine at her husband’s conference, and he was also there at her training every day. At the end of our training for YOWLI, she called him in front of everyone to give him a public hug. She said that even after 40 years, he is still supporting everything she does and how much she appreciated him. That moment stuck to my heart like glue; of course, I cried. That was also the moment I concluded that I would never get married until I found a man that would support me in every aspect and love me forever.