Binta is a tiny child in a village in Senegal's Bignona Prefecture. Her school teaches peace, tolerance, friendship, and fraternity. Two stories intertwine: Binta's older cousin Soda's father will not let Soda go to school; and Binta's father gets a grand idea when he learns that Westerners (tubabs) have so many fish they no longer need to work together and have guns to protect their wealth. He dictates his idea to Binta and then carries the paper to the lieutenant governor of the prefecture, then to successive higher officials. Meanwhile, the school children act out Soda's plight, staging it for her parents and the village. And what is Binta's father's grand idea?