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Man cycled across 6 countries to pursue education at his dream university and he wasn't disappointed

Dedication and determination are the keys to success and this story of a Guinean man is living proof of the fact that hard work pays off.

Man cycled across 6 countries to pursue education at his dream university and he wasn't disappointed
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Will Smith

If a person sets their heart on something, they rarely deviate from their journey to their goal. This dedication requires one to have patience and courage to overcome all obstacles. But the prize they get after completing this journey is truly fulfilling. Such was the case with a man from Guinea who proved that when there's a will, there's a way. As per the BBC, the man traveled from Guinea to Egypt on an inspiring journey that will surely make your heart happy.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Dó Castle
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Dó Castle

Mamadou Safayou Barry, a 25-year-old married man with a kid, wanted to study the Islamic Studies course at Al-Azhar in Egypt. He had always heard about the course but lacked the finances to pay for it, let alone be able to travel to Egypt. Al-Azhar is one of the oldest and most influential centers for Sunni Islamic learning in the world and has been around since AD 670. Despite the lack of money or opportunities, Barry was determined to try out his luck at this prestigious place and hence, embarked on an unusual journey to Al-Azhar.

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He did the unthinkable and left his home in Conakry, Guinea, on a bicycle to embark on his journey to Egypt. He traveled for about 2500 miles across five countries, all in the hope of reaching Al-Azhar. In conversation with the publication, he told how, despite his honest intentions of leaving home to seek and study Islam, he was a victim of unwarranted suspicions due to political instability in some of the locations he traveled through. He cycled through some of the most bandit-infected areas in the world, which included parts of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Referring to the political instability due to attacks by Islamist militants on civilians, he said, "To travel through these countries is very hard because they don't have security at this time." 


Talking more about his journey, he said, "They have so many problems and people there are very scared. In Mali and Burkina Faso, people were looking at me like I am a bad man." He was also arrested and detained three times in his whole journey for no reason. It happened once in Togo and twice in Burkina Faso. However, the tables turned for the better as Barry reached Chad. There, a journalist saw a story of inspiration in his journey and interviewed him, as well as urged people to find his flight to Egypt. And as luck would have it, a flight was arranged for him from Chad to Cairo. The Dean at Al-Azhar, Dr. Nahla Elseidy, was impressed by Barry's unwavering determination and hence, gave him a full scholarship for Al-Azhar's Islamic Studies course.

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The dean also took to her social media to say that Al-Azhar would love to spread its knowledge worldwide. She said, "Al-Azhar receives students from all countries, takes care of them and offers them grants." Barry told the BBC how happy he was now to be able to call himself an Al-Azhar scholar and that the happiness that this title gave him exceeded and erased all the trials of his journey. And as if luck wasn't done shining on Barry yet, Hollywood actor Will Smith read his inspiring story via BBC and decided to video call Barry. Not only that, Smith also gifted the Al-Azhar scholar a new laptop and bicycle for his new journey.


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