Like their characters in the film, Dior and Oumoul are sisters, first-generation students, and have both had their futures shaped by marriage at a young age. Last week, Jeremy Teicher, the director, returned to the village to visit them. Pictured left, Oumoul (Debo) was put into an arranged marriage and pulled out of school shortly after filming ended in August 2011 — however, she ran away from her husband-to-be’s family and insisted on continuing her education. She is still in school to this day.
Dior, right (Coumba), dropped out of high school during her senior year (just months after shooting) and got married to a man from Mbour (the nearby city). Her first baby came soon after. Dior’s parents were upset that she chose to get married before she finished her high school education. Life often brings unforeseen twists and turns –and often reality is stranger than fiction.
One sure thing is that the honesty and courage these two sisters brought to their roles in Tall as the Baobab Tree is now serving to educate and inspire countless girls around the world.