Age: 6 years
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Keita is from Abobo, a northern suburb in Abidjan. Her parents Namouré (father) and Koréa (mother) are farmers. They work in Guinea-Conakry, formerly known as French Guinea. It is Aisha, Keita’s aunt who looks after her. Keita comes from a family of three children, 1 sister, Sorna who is 12 years old and 1 brother, Phodé who is 8 years old.
Before Keita was born, Koréa her mother had a nightmare, and she believed it was a sign from the Spirits. When she gave birth in the village, the male midwife did not want to give Keita back to her parents; the midwife convinced them that the child had been cursed by a Genie. It was Aisha, Keita’s aunt, who forced the door open and grabbed Keita, arguing that it was not a curse, but simply a malformation from natural causes.
Koréa was told that she had offended the Genie, because she had bathed after sunset, and this was unacceptable for a pregnant woman. She did not believe the elders, she believed Keita’s cleft lip was a natural deformity. It was Namouré, Keita’s father who believed in Koréa’s punishment for having taken her bath after sunset.
Needless to say, Keita has been brought up by her 23 year old aunt Aisha, and her one and only wish was to have cleft surgery, in order to make friends and go to school. She would dream of being accepted by children of her own age.