Papa Mendes, 32, and his wife are expecting their first child in a few months. But in Guinea-Bissau, providing for your family isn’t easy.
'It was my dream to open my shop.'
But for Papa, a WAVS School graduate, that dream did not come easily.
PELUNDO, GUINEA-BISSAU – He’s gone by the name “Papa” his whole life, but soon he’ll be a father for the first time.
Papa Mendes, 32, and his wife are expecting their first child in a few months. But in Guinea-Bissau – one of the world’s smallest and poorest countries – providing for your family isn’t easy. The education system is in tatters, the economy is fragile, and steady jobs are rare.
But Papa is determined. Every morning, he rolls off a thin, plastic mat that passes for a bed and walks out of his 10-by-10-foot mud-brick room. Outside, about 20 feet away under a shade tree, he lays out a handful of tools on a metal table, cranks up a generator, and goes to work.
Papa is the village welder. It’s not a glamorous job, but Papa couldn’t be happier.
“It was my dream to open my own shop,” said Papa, flashing his constant smile. “My dream has now turned into reality.”