Cursory: Mamadou Safayou Barry, a determined student, cycled 4,000km across West Africa to fulfill his dream of studying at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University. His four-month journey faced challenges, however, his story garnered attention, leading to generous individuals funding his flight to Egypt.
A resolute student exceeded his expectations when he embarked on an epic 4,000km bicycle journey across West Africa to pursue his educational aspirations.
As reported by BBC Africa News, Mamadou Safayou Barry commenced his remarkable voyage in May, departing from Guinea with the ambitious goal of reaching Egypt’s renowned Al-Azhar University.
Over the course of four grueling months, the 25-year-old cyclist endured harsh conditions, including scorching heat, freezing cold, and traversing nations gripped by Islamist militant activities and political upheaval.
He journeyed across West Africa, passing through Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Niger, and Chad before reaching Cairo. Barry shared that his initial goal when leaving home was to pursue Islamic education, but he encountered challenges due to instability in some of these nations.
“To travel through these countries is very hard because they don’t have security at this time,” he said, referring to recent coups and political unrest in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
Barry also recounted being arrested and held in custody twice in Burkina Faso and once in Togo, but these incidents did not deter his determination.
Despite the painstaking journey, he was determined to present his case at the university in the hope that he would be accepted. “As much as I could not afford the Islamic Studies course at Al-Azhar, or flights to Egypt, the university’s reputation spurred me to take my chances,” Barry said excitedly.
His fortune took a turn for the better upon reaching Chad when he was interviewed by a reporter. The journalist subsequently shared his story on the internet, which led to kind-hearted individuals covering the cost of his flight to Egypt.
Upon his arrival, the married father of one expressed immense joy upon discovering that he not only obtained the coveted opportunity but also received a scholarship.
This followed a meeting with Dr. Nahla Elseidy, the Dean of Islamic Studies, who enrolled him in Al-Azhar’s Islamic Studies program with a complete scholarship.
On top of that, the Guinean student was also been gifted a set of books for him to learn Arabic. “I cannot tell you how happy I was. I thanked God,” he concluded, adding that the news erased all the struggles he endured on his way to his new home.
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