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November 9, 2007

Beauty and Her Purpose: Miss Ghana

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Lamisi spoke of a 9-year-old girl in Savalega, a village in the most guinea worm-endemic district. Every morning when Lamisi went to the clinic, she could hear children crying while doctors changed their bandages. “I had to hold them,” she said sadly. “I was breaking down and they were breaking down. I just wanted to take the pain away.” After the childrens' bandages were changed, Lamisi found a little girl named Sadia, crying in a corner. Lamisi comforted Sadia by talking with her. “I want to be Miss Ghana one day,” said Sadia. “I want to be just like you.”

Lamisi explained the rush of emotion she felt, as questions flooded her mind. Does she know how my feet hurt from these high heels? How could she compete with the others? She has missed school and the poor quality of education in the village! How can she realize her dream? Lamisi thought. “You can do even better,” she told Sadia. After encouraging Sadia, Lamisi still could not get past her own doubts. “Our futures are all uncertain, but we can plan. For Sadia, it’s literally one day at a time,” she said as her brow furrowed slightly. But Sadia suddenly surprised Lamisi with an act of determination and gumption, which continues to inspire her today.

Even with the bandages wrapped around her thin legs, Sadia stood up and began to walk like a model. Her tiny hips swaggering and her head high, Sadia said proudly, “I know I can be Miss Ghana. I’m going to fight guinea worm.” And she smiled.

Lamisi said that she often thinks about sadia. She explained, “If you have the crown, it empowers you to do extraordinary things. You must benefit society and help disadvantaged people. Otherwise what’s the point? Beauty alone doesn’t count.”

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