The long distances and the fact that so many get abducted and raped on their way to school means that the girls are the first to be kept home. It’s only because her village was a short, 15-minute walk from school that Bizunesh has had the privilege, by the time she was 18, to be given five years of schooling. Then her father died and education was over. She had also met Belay and school benches held no more attraction for her anyway. But she says that it is because she was in school that she got married so late and not at 13 as many other girls.
Belay was not so lucky. “My parents did not understand the importance of education, they only believed in the church education.” He has never seen the school benches but he agrees with Bizunesh on the efforts that must be made for his own children. There will not be enough land for them and he dreams of seeing them get out of the mountains. And when he admits to his biggest dreams, Belay says he would like one day for his children to go to America. He thinks this dream is possible. Though his mother chose to stay in the mountains, some of his grandfather’s other children have made their way to the Addis Ababa!