What a surprise, an invitation to The Republic of The Gambia, West Africa! It was prolonged from President Yahya Abdulaziz Jemus Junkung Jemmah, himself. I was the only woman amid our United states team from FSJ and Associates.
We have been asked to aid President Yahya in the creation of their February Independence Day celebrations, build an intercontinental recording studio, and generate an entertainment educational system for the college pupils in Banjul. Furthermore, Vice President Isatul Njie-Saide asked for us to assist in the Gambian Women’s Empowerment system.
Being a motivational speaker and committed charity advocate, I was elated! Right after intensive planning and quite a few shots, I was off on my extended journey. A working day and a fifty percent later on, I was exhausted when I arrived in Banjul, continue to gagging from the stench of the sheepherders and the pesticide fumigation in Dakar, Senegal.
Gambia is positioned on the West Coastline of Africa around the Equator. It surrounds a delta on the desert’s edge. I was greeted by roaming goats and Ebu, my chauffeur/bodyguard. I was not allowed in public without the need of him. I speedily comprehended why.
In addition to being election calendar year and threats by the Opposition Party, the natives would get my blonde hair and reasonable-skinned arms, and then want to shake my hand. Their yellowish eyes instructed their tales of poverty and sickness. I stored telling myself, “Use loads of sanitizer!” Illness runs rampant there – Aids, Hepatitis, Malaria, Meningitis, West Nile, Fowl Flu, and so forth.
At 10 dollars (US) for bottled water, I rationed it all through the day, preserving drops for brushing my tooth right before bed. That was all right, since restrooms have been almost non-existent. If I found just one, there would be no toilet paper and experienced rancid sewage on the floor. Apart from h2o, my food plan consisted of grapefruit, pineapple, pastries, meatless pizza, and moldy cheese.
Gambians view People as wealthy, due to the fact the normal laborer can make only a single greenback (US) for each working day, is effective six times a 7 days, and is paid out the moment a month. Even nevertheless gals ended up provided the appropriate to vote two a long time in the past, most are not permitted to get the job done exterior their spouse and children commune. As a result, the poverty stricken girls and young children swarm the vacationers begging feverishly.
Muslims account for 95% of the populace. A Muslim male may perhaps marry four wives, every single having 5 little ones on average. With twenty-five hungry mouths to feed, most of their dollars is spent on rice and beans. Thanks to malnutrition, it is frequent to see children with bloated bellies and bony arms and legs.
By legislation when a female marries, she is essential to transform to her husband’s faith therefore, Muslim adult men will purposely seek out out Christian ladies. In addition, Muslim educational facilities present cost-free instruction verses community universities with high-priced expenses. This makes a religious stronghold on the small children from youth.
A different approach of supreme regulate is by means of the Witch Doctor’s voodoo. Wives are threatened with a loss of life hex if they are disobedient or go away their husbands. In actuality, it is not the hex that will induce their demise it is malnutrition, sickness, the lack of training and no earnings.
Even nevertheless the Gambian girls live in a male dominated society, their spirits research for fact and dignity. Through Christian church services, the Muslim girls often spy more than the back walls outside when listening to the sermon on the loud speakers. They are camouflaged in multiple layers of cloth to conceal their identification.
I was honored to be a guest at the presidential dinner celebrations and enthusiastic to mingle with other earth leaders, but my spotlight was inspiring the Banjul learners to reside fulfilling life and to continue to keep hope. The youthful women were so appreciative they gave me a established of scarves.
African daily life is hard! Their daily worries are to find the basics – food stuff, outfits and shelter. The vital to empowerment is to develop into a lot less in order to turn into more. Empowerment arrives in the least envisioned second, causing just one to courageously rise over the situations that surround them.
I will usually remember the kinder spirits of the Gambian people today they are the most gracious I have ever recognized. I am not guaranteed if I would willingly volunteer for an additional tour of obligation in Africa but if asked, I most likely would go once again.