‘America does not need me’: BYU Graduate dedicated to building schools in his homeland

‘America does not need me’: BYU Graduate dedicated to building schools in his homeland

In Salt Lake’s newest library — a brand new, modern public building in the Marmalade district — you’ll find a man who grew up in Mali, West Africa: a place more different than many of us could even imagine.

“At night sometimes we’ll be so hungry that we couldn’t sleep,” said Yeah Samake. “My mother will come and tie my stomach with a handkerchief so that it will shrink a little bit, I don’t feel the pain of hunger.”

Such was the life of Samake, whose father sent all of his children to school instead of having them work on the farm to provide food for the family.

“Only education will help us break the cycle of poverty,” said Samake.

That led him to a teaching job where he met a couple from Colorado. They sponsored him to come to America, where he got a degree at BYU.
Instead of staying in America, Samake went home. In Mali, he was elected mayor of his hometown. His reasoning is something his friend James Arrington says is inspirational.

“He could have complete comfort here in America,” Arrington said. “He’s very skilled, he’s very gifted. He could hold a very good job, but he is drawn by something that burns within him to lift his people in the way that he’s been lifted.”

“America does not need me,” said Samake. “I may need America, but America does not need me. My village needs me. My country needs me.”

Read the full story at KSL.com

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