Every morning before the rooster crows, the mosque prayer call pierces the darkness, awakening me. I rise to pound millet and cook breakfast for my family. We have so many to feed - my mother-in-law, my husband, his two other wives and all of our children. It's difficult to feed everyone, though, because the drought last year killed many of our crops. It's also hard to work while your stomach growls, but we do it, day after day.
We are farmers. We depend on the rain. There are 4 million of us in Mali and five other West African countries. Another 6 million people speak our language. Fewer than 1 percent of us are Christians. My people follow Allah, and I follow my people. We also worship the spirits of our ancestors, the rivers and the trees. There are so many spirits to appease!