BY NAZIM ANSARI
April 13 – Riding to Banjul, Gambia
This morning we left Banjul and rode a long way to The Gambia, which is a neighboring country to Senegal. We will be here for a few days before we depart back to Senegal.
The trip was a good experience because we made many stops and it ended up taking us 10 hours to get there by charter bus. We were able to stop along the way to visit some of the small remote villages in the countryside. Our group stopped in one village and the areas is called Bandulu where the people live in “huts” (that’s the best way I can describe their living quarters).
But the major misperception is that Africa and Africans are savage, ignorant people. Even in the most remote villages the people speak at least three languages, Wolof -the native language of Senegal- French, and English. Also, they live a rural life as their customs call for, have electricity and running water, know what cars, cellphones, etc are, but they choose a life that is normal to them and their tradition.
Their communal lifestyle is amazing, everyone works to help each other in the village. The values are much more prioritized, (God, family, and community) and they are very happy and peaceful. Hmm, would you trade in the stress of job, mortgage, car note, pollution for the peaceful life enjoying the beauty of nature, fresh air, well water, growing your own food, and a peaceful community life? Well probably not completely
I learned a lot about priorities from them which will help make my life more peaceful, and there are a lot of things we should absolutely adopt. The children really value education, a pen is the best gift you can give them, they love it. Notebooks or books of any kind is like hitting the lottery, and education is treasured.
There is a true respect for elders, who set the tone for the village. The council of elders, resolve all the issues that arise. As we got to the border to cross into The Gambia, the area was packed with people and a lot of children, because Monday was a holiday.
I met several young brothers, who upon hearing my name asked if I was in the Nation of Islam. They had heard The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan speak when he visited Gambia and loved it and love him, needless to say I was very excited. I spoke with one young man for a while we waited, and I have been reading a few books on the trip, one of them is Closing The Gap, so I gave him a copy of this book and he was very appreciative.
Also, I saw several young girls selling cashews, which grow plentiful in the Senegal/Gambia region, and a few of the girls had pink marks on their faces which looked like their skin had been burned. We asked them what happen, and were told that they young girls are trying to bleach their skin
. I was very disappointed to see and hear this, because our minds are still trapped in this destructive thinking, even for our young people in Africa.
We finally made it to our hotel, and it’s late, the Ocean Bay Hotel in Banjul, Gambia is also built directly next to the ocean, but it’s dark and I can’t see anything, only hear the water. We have a full week planned, school visit, museum, another slave dungeon in this area, market, etc…so I will try to update you all later this week.
Attached pictures are;
1. Entering into the home of the Chief of the Bandulu village.
2. Inside the bedroom, notice the bedroom suite.
3. Another “hut” home for another family in the village.
4. Mom carrying little baby on back.
5. Bro. Rente, who I gave my book to.
6. Gambian little girls, notice the one on the left, she has a pink burn mark on her forehead where she is starting to bleach her skin.