Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Diary Sow: The mom of Senegal’s star pupil recollects their final dialog

That was when Diary’s title final popped onto the display screen of her mom’s telephone. The younger lady, an educational superstar on this West African nation, had recorded a voice message for her 5-year-old sister: I miss you extra! I like you a lot.

Then nobody may attain her.

“All I do is look forward to her name,” mentioned Binta Sow, 40, lifting one other tissue to her face. “The world has stopped.”

Now hundreds of thousands of individuals are following the case, posting messages of help for Diary and her household from three continents. French police, working with Senegalese investigators, have widened their search to a number of cities however have remained tight-lipped. Authorities have alerted officers throughout the Schengen Space to her disappearance.

There’s anguish in Senegal, the place the president has known as Diary a “rising star.” Her first novel, a twisted love story, got here out final 12 months. She deliberate to pursue an engineering profession. Her college, the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, is taken into account a launchpad to France’s prime science-focused universities.

Diary received a full-ride scholarship.

“She will be able to do something,” mentioned her uncle, Mahfouz Sarr. “She is so sensible for her age. She has a lot power.”

On the final night they chatted, her mom mentioned, Diary sounded excited. Lessons had been to renew the subsequent morning.

She had spent a lot of her vacation break in her dorm room, studying books and ordering hamburgers. Diary isn’t one to exit a lot, Binta mentioned. The coronavirus pandemic made socializing even much less interesting.

New 12 months’s Eve was the exception. Diary traveled to Toulouse, France, to go to household mates, a mom and a daughter. They principally sat round and caught up, Binta mentioned.

Her mom recalled Diary sounding completely regular whereas describing the reunion. Upbeat. Nonchalant. She mentioned she was again in her dorm room, getting ready for the varsity day. (Investigators confirmed that she had keyed in.)

The daughter of a homemaker and a baker, Diary went to highschool with far richer children. Did she face cliques? Bullies?

“My daughter would by no means care to even point out something like that,” Binta mentioned. “If somebody doesn’t like her, she’d simply stroll away.”

Diary, naturally reserved, was recognized to maintain her head down at college. She busied herself with studying and writing.

She had lately completed her second ebook, her mom mentioned, and wished to proofread it once more earlier than sending it to publishers. Her first, “Beneath the Face of an Angel,” had drawn acclaim in Senegal.

Web sleuths had puzzled: What in regards to the strain? What if she had merely run away from all of it?

Binta couldn’t think about that.

“My daughter is evident about what she’s going to do and what she is not going to do,” the mom mentioned. “She doesn’t pretend it to impress anybody.”

Plus, she mentioned, Diary is shut together with her household. She liked to bake birthday desserts together with her father rising up of their village, Malicounda Bambara, about 50 miles southeast of the capital, Dakar. She grieved deeply when he died in April, her mom mentioned, however targeted on comforting her household.

At house, they hold her mattress made with a blanket lined in pink hearts. Her bookshelf remains to be crammed full. Her initials (D.S.) are etched into the wooden.

Diary usually rang her mom on the weekends — weekdays are for finding out — however shortly replied to WhatsApp voice messages from her 5-year-old sister, Amy Colle.

“I miss you. I like you,” the little lady mentioned Jan. 3. “When are you coming house?”

“My love, I miss you extra,” Diary had replied on WhatsApp. “I like you a lot.”

She promised to come back house for summer season break.

Each message Binta despatched after that went unopened, in response to the learn receipts.

A day later, Diary’s college reported her lacking.

Nothing in regards to the disappearance is smart, her mom mentioned. Diary was purported to be secure in Paris. So many college students dream of finding out there.

“I’m placing all of it on God,” Binta mentioned.

Diary’s mom mentioned she is grateful for the outpouring of affection, the neighbors dropping off envelopes of money — a conventional gesture of help throughout a tragedy.

On Wednesday, her lounge stuffed with sudden guests. There was the village mayor, a neighborhood lawmaker, an entourage of individuals carrying T-shirts that includes Diary’s face. They gathered under Diary’s framed scholastic awards.

Everybody turned their palms up and prayed for solutions.

Binta’s telephone, resting on her lap, stored lighting up.

Not her daughter. Not her daughter.

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