Sharing my cousin’s inspiring life story

This is a story of a young man named Ibrahim Traore.

He is my cousin, and he and I grew up together in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa.

We are still really close, although we both left home to pursue our dreams and have not seen each other for five years. We still talk on the phone all the time; the distance did not and will not affect our relation- ship.

Coming from a small country in West Africa, life has not always been good for Traore, or a lot of kids from that continent. We go through so much that we mature before the age of maturity. Those hardships we faced at an early age got us ready to face life and its demanding realities. Those challenges get you ready for anything life throws your way.

Traore grew up in a big family with 15 siblings and parents who did not have a lot of money. He used to walk 45 minutes or more to get to school. At home, he slept with five other siblings in one room.

He said that’s always motivated him to work hard, make it big and give his family a better life. He

found that opportunity through the game of soccer.

At first, he was just a regular stu– dent and just played the game on the street with his friends for fun.

At some point, he started getting better and better, and people started telling him that he was a talented player so he should take it seriously.

One day, a man saw him on the street and asked if he wanted to play professional soccer. The man gave him an address where he
asked Traore to meet him. When he showed up and saw a bunch of kids playing soccer, he was introduced to a coach who invited him to practice, which he started to do three times a week.

Eventually, Traore was given the opportunity get a scholarship to get an education while playing soccer. He had always dreamed of going to Paris, and now he is there, getting an education for free and getting better day-by-day at a game he loves.

I wanted to tell my cousin’s story because it is inspirational. I think it shows all the young people out there that we can all do the same thing with hard work, belief and perseverance.