Athia is the second of 11 children in the Kouta household. She's the first girl and just because of that, she's had many years of cooking practice. Already at 13 she started going to the market everyday to buy vegetables and meat or fish for the family meal. With cooking and taking care of younger siblings, there was no time for school. And, she never went. We've been enjoying her cooking since 2006 and really, in all our years working and travelling throughout Senegal, no one can top Athia's cooking!
How did we discover Athia? Through her younger sister, Aminata, who became our Women for Girls nurse coordinator in 2006. Aminata was the first child in the household to go to school and getting there wasn't easy. Her father said no and Aminata cried and cried until her father finally gave up and brought her to register. From Aminata on down, all the brothers and sisters attend school. Now, her father realizes the importance of education.
We aren't the only ones to appreciate Athia's cooking. She uses her skills to help the family get by; she prepares lunches for local businessmen.