Monday, 31 December 2012

Blessed 2013



I’ve missed you! There was no way possible I could not add a post to my blog before this day ends. I’m going to deviate from the course I was on in this post and share some thoughts with you. Please remember that is always OK that we agree to disagree on issues. Everybody has a voice, this is mine!

Most people are hooked into “New Year” festivities and making resolutions. I’m not into that at all, the reolution aspect of it! A new year’s resolution is declaration to do something or make some kind of change from what is current. What I don’t get is that if you are aware of an existing problem or situation in your life why you would wait till a new year to do it. Some may say that it’s because with a new year you have a fresh start, but to me each day, each hour, each minute, each second, each moment is a fresh start. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone so that very thing you said you’ll do tomorrow you may not actually get a chance to do.  “Just do it”, as the slogan goes!  

I think that this point of view has come about as I mature in age and wisdom. I’m far from completion in my growth and maturity and I’m subject to procrastination like anyone else. That’s what I see the so called New Year’s resolutions as, procrastination. It’s obvious that when a person makes a resolution they have determined to do, change or fix something in their lives. Why wait till a new year? Suppose it’s February and you notice you want to make a change. Will you want to the following January to do it? That would be such a waste and like I said, well really not me but the WORD, tomorrow is not promised. Let us not live with regret and put off tomorrow what we can do today. That’s not progress or development that’s jumping on the bandwagon.  A ride too many of us have taken, will take or are on right now.  

Speaking of the bandwagon, far too many people jump on way too fast. Most that are riding the bandwagon have not gathered any information about the ride they are taking before we jump on, but get caught in the frenzy or hype that’s fueling the wagon. Just look a P Diddy putting on a kilt casue Kanye did it. I wonder who's next? Or people caught up into the world is going to end this day or that, geez!

In case you don’t know what the “bandwagon” is, here’s some information from Wikipedia: In layman’s term the bandwagon effect refers to people doing certain things because other people are doing them, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override. The perceived "popularity" of an object, person or something may have an effect on how it is viewed on a whole. For instance, once a product becomes popular, more people tend to "get on the bandwagon" and buy it, too. The bandwagon effect has wide implications, but is commonly seen in politics, consumer and social behavior.

See what I mean! We have to be very careful of this. People, communities, countries, even whole continents can be and have been manipulated by this process. Sometimes for the good, but often for the bad. Take for instance the craziness of young men wearing their pants below their behinds with their underwear showing. We now have a culture with young men all around the world doing this, even here in Africa. Wow, imagine what a postive message can do!

In essence we must be careful and mindful of what we do and say everyday, especially in the presence of our children. We all agree that we want a better tomorrow so that means we’re mindful of what we do today!

 
                                                                Blessed 2013!


I love you all and pray for the good of everyone. May those things you declare come to pass and may you enjoy each new day!  

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

From Empire to Independence



The modern-day Gambia was once part of the Ghana, Mali and Songhai Empires.


In 1807, the United Kingdom abolished the slave trade throughout its Empire. It also tried, unsuccessfully, to end the slave trade in The Gambia. Slave ships intercepted by the Royal Navy in the Atlantic were also returned to The Gambia, with Liberated Slaves (Aku People) released on MacCarthy Island ( was later renamed Georgetown and now known as Janjanbureh, it’s original African name for the 2 brothers that founded it) far up the Gambia River where they were expected to establish new lives. Georgetown was founded by the British as a Creole settlement, though it was quickly populated by liberated Africans from elsewhere. The town gradually became an administrative and economic center for the country. An 1889 agreement with France established the present boundaries, and The Gambia became a British Crown Colony. 

The Gambia achieved independence on February 18, 1965 as a constitutional monarchy within the British Commonwealth. On April 24, 1970, The Gambia became a republic within the Commonwealth, following a second referendum, with Prime Minister Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, as head of state. The Gambia was led by President Jawara, who was re-elected five times and remained in office until a successful bloodless coup in 1994. There had been at least two unsuccessful coups in his administration before 1994.

His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh (phew, that’s more than a mouthful), born 25 May 1965 was a 29 year old, young army officer when he took power in a July 1994 military coup and was elected as President in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011.

The national flag of The Gambia designed by Pa Louis Thomasi, consists of a horizontal tricolour of red, blue and green.. The colours are separated by white stripes. The red at the top symbolises the sun, as well as the savanna. Below the red is blue that symbolises the Gambia RIver that flows through the nation. The green symbolises the land, and also the forests of the nation. The white portions represent peace. The flag was adopted on February 18, 1965, the day it became fully independent of Britain. The flag of the Gambia has no political basis.

Gambia' motto is, "Peace, Progress and Prosperity". 
Class is dismissed! See ya Friday, then we'll take a holiday break, or not! 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Good News!

My heart is heavy. No particular reason, maybe it's the season. I don't know, but this too shall pass. It's strange to be filled with joy, but not be happy, hmmmm. Anyway all is well!

I hope you remember where we left off in the summer of 2007. I know we strayed from the path we were on.1st MIA because of the gala, then the tragedy at Sandy Hook school. But no matter what happens in life we have to keep walking, treading water and rising above.   

We left off talking about the Experience, I hope you remember that and I can never forget it. My Mother's spiritual visit to me before she left this Earth. Wow, my mother was dead! I was stuck in Africa with $10, crippled, no return ticket, but all was well. Once again I was in that place of peace so much so that it was even difficult to cry from the grief. I could feel consolation all around me, not from any person or persons, but a spiritual consolation which added to my strength. My Mom had died a few days before her birthday and I prayed that I would be able to leave Africa on her birthday.

My brother was trying to get the money together to get me back to the states while also taking care of our mother's affairs. When he called and said he was having a hard time getting all the money I felt so sorry for him. I knew he was doing his best to deal with his grief, stay strong for his family and take care of me. He's a beautiful man! I could feel his anxieties when we spoke and I did my best to assure and reassure him I was and would be okay. I knew I would! I can't stress that enough, I knew I would be OK. I didn't know how, didn't have a plan, no back up, but GOD! I know that GOD is merciful and if it was HE that sat me on this journey HE would take me where HE wanted me to go and where I needed to be. I had entered into HIS rest.

Let me say this before I go any further. My life is a living testimony! I talk about GOD, Jesus, the HOLY SPIRIT and their influence in and on my life. I'm a Christian! If that is a turn off for you then this is not where you want to be! Or maybe you do. Maybe someone needs to hear Good News instead of so much bad news. Maybe what I've said can touch a life and help increase their faith, draw them closer to GOD. I've said it before, I know I'm not taking this walk just for me! So I can not write or speak about my journey if I don't include what makes me tick! 

Okay, let's rejoin the program.......

I have this place I like to sit in my house here in Gambia and read my Bible. I like to sit there after I pray and read the WORD and just look at the sky, trees and whatever else my eyes light upon and thank GOD. Except for  my bed and dining room chairs at that time all the other furniture in the house beside that chair by the window was to low to sit on because of the pain I was experiencing in my right hip. One day as I sat there I got a call from a woman I had met when I was donating goods throughout the country. I had donated books and various school supplies to her school. In fact it was through her that I found the house I was living in. I had not talked to her in months.

I was surprised when I saw her number in my caller ID, but thought that maybe one of my friends that worked at her school had told her about my Mom's passing. This is a booming African Woman! She is not docile, very intelligent, energetic and somewhat domineering. She's got it together! Anyway she said that she was calling to check on me and see how I was doing, that I had been on her mind. I told her about my Mother's passing and she extended her condolences. I also told her about my leg. She said she'd stop by one day soon to see me and actually showed up in a couple of hours. When she saw me try to stand to greet her I could feel her pain for me. She asked me when was I leaving for the states and I explained my situation to her. I could see her mind moving before she could speak. Just the thought that she thought that of me to try to think of a way to help me was overwhelming. She told me, that I had been too good to Gambia for Gambia not to be good to me! Wow!

She starting checking her own budget to see if she could afford to but a ticket for me when you could plainly see the light bulb above her head come on! She said she would stop by a friends place that had a travel agency to see what she could do and left. In less than an hour her friend a woman I had also met before called and asked if I could come to her travel agency. Huh, what!!? If I had to crawl I'd get there, but I hesitated to answer. Then she said, that's OK, and asked me to tell her what day I wanted to travel. It was a Tuesday and I said I wanted to leave Thursday, that would've been my Mother's birthday.
 

On Thursday I boarded the plane for America! 


Friday, 14 December 2012

On Your Knees Everybody!

In my free time today I had prepared a brief follow up history lesson on The Gambia, but as the day progressed the news about the children and the adults that were murdered in Connecticut has unfolded. I prefer to let my voice be heard on this.

My heart is saddened and sickened for such a loss of life, of innocence, of hope. My prayers of comfort and strength go out to all the families and those affected by such a tragedy. I can not begin to imagine their pain. As my children grew up in Chicago I held my breath when ever I watched the news and heard of another child being shot if they were not in the house or some place safe. I don't think they ever knew that. At one point it was only my two boys that caused me this anxiety, but as time went on my daughter was included in my worries. No parent, no parent should have to wonder will their children come home safe. This is ridiculous!

I have been praying for a long time for GOD to bind the spirits of violence and ignorance in the world and especially among our young. I invite you to pray with me. As I read the Bible I have read in Revelations 6:4,"Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword". Clearly the rider is upon us.

I ask you to not only pray, but make conscious efforts and steps in your lives individually and collectively as a people, families, communities and nations to reduce the exposure our children and many adults to acts or ideas of violence. I'm talking about the movies you let your children watch, the music, they listen to, the video games they play. We've got to  make some serious changes and must decide that a movie, game or music that promotes violence is not entertaining, but an assault to our psyche. The child that watches violence today, is apt to act out violently tomorrow. 

And why is it easier to get a gun permit in some areas than a drivers licence? Some changes need to be made and it must start at home. So much anger is at home and not enough GODLY LOVE..

We can turn this around if we pray with all sincerity and reject the darkness that has come into our lives. It's one of GOD's promises and HIS promises are faithful and true. HE does not lie! 

Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 

Pray, and keep praying!
We're getting out what we're putting in! 
My mother told me once, "You got to get on your face sometimes", well this is face time! Let us pray!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

MIA

No, I'm not really MIA, but the Rotary club I belong to here is having their annual gala and it is taking a lot of my time and attention. Rotarian Motto, "Service ABove Self".

We're raising money to complete a science lab for secondary schools(hight schools) in the area. Most schools do not have scienc elabs or the euipment for the students to do their practicals so the Banjul Rotary Club is building one for them all to use. The lab will actually house various labs: Chem, biology, computer, etc.

If I have a chance I'll post on Friday, if not see ya Monday. Hey, I'll be missing you! 
Till then, 1 LOVE!

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Experience!

I don't want to, but I feel the need to keep saying this: If you haven't read my previous posts you won't  get fully what I'm trying to convey and you would have missed some steps along this journey. I encourage you to read my previous posts please if you have not. Let's carry on, shall we.........  

I fear what comes next in life. Now that's a bold and truthful statement! I fear what comes next, but I'm excited about and look forward to it! I don't know or would even try to have the idea, gumption or ignorance to think I know what's on GOD's agenda, that's why I fear what's coming next. I fear GOD, I am humbled and in awe of HIS very being. That fear doesn't mean I think bad things are on the horizon or have negative thoughts, no way: just the opposite. Whatever, a million blessings or a million woes, "HE's Got the Whole World in HIS HANDS".

I told you I was feeling Jobish and for those of you who don't know the story of Job from the Bible I encourage you to check it out. So Job would send up prayers and sacrifices every day for his family cause he didn't know what's coming next for them. Most of us do it unconsciously, pray that you make through the day safely, "watch over me as I come and go". We say it out of reverence for GOD as we seek protection cause we don't know what's coming next.

The summer of 2007 was Hot! Yes, Africa Hot! I'm so glad that the owner of the house I rent had it built it so that from any direction the wind is blowing there's usually a nice breeze in the house, cause electricity is not promised to you. Especially in the summer when it's raining; Hmph, you get to really appreciate that you have an arm that you can fan yourself with! I spent some of my time reading, exchanging then discussing novels with one my sistren here from the Diaspora that's Jamaican via the UK. And of course I spent a lot of time praying and reading the Bible, it's what kept me! My domestic assistant was so sweet! She took care of me hand and foot, wouldn't let me move for a glass of water. GOD bless her. She was the first student that I enrolled in my organizations literacy program in 2010 http://www.intbn.org.

The hair was still standing up on the back of my neck and there was a peace with me that I'd never known, it was surreal. It was if I was in this calm space and on the periphery was this swirling warm wind that was picking up speed.Then late one Thursday night or early one Friday morning if you prefer as I was sleeping I had a dream, but it wasn't like a dream at all. It felt so real and I know it was. Listen up! Here's the Experience or some may say dream........

I was in the house I rent here in Gambia in my bedroom when  heard someone come to my door. I could sense that my domestic assistant was in the house during the Experience, but she was not visible. I came from my room to see who was at my door. In the Experience my front door had a screen door, but in actuality it does not. Anyway as I neared the front door my mouth dropped open in shock. I couldn't believe who I was seeing and I was more than overjoyed. The sun was shining so brightly that I shaded my eyes to take in everything that was in the distance. In actuality there is a high wall, prisonish, that surrounds the compound/yard where I live, but in the Experience no walls. I live on a main street so in the Experience I was able to see onto the main street and its activity.  

I opened the screen door and exclaimed. "Mom, what are you doing here?" In an excited way! I didn't hug her nor did we touch, but that's not usual. I don't think we had hugged since I was a very little girl, if then. Her image was and still is so clear, what she had on, her hairstyle, makeup and with that broad, red lipsticked, I Love Lucy Smile. I felt so honored and I had so many questions: How'd you get here? How did you fine the house? Who's that chauffeur and where did he come from? I'm  telling it was like that! As I looked beyond my mother standing on my doorstep I could see a tall Black Man with a dazzling bright smile dressed in a black chauffeur's uniform with the patent leather brimmed cap pulled down over his eyes standing by a black limousine. Arms folded in front of his pelvis in a relaxed, but on duty stance. I noticed I didn't see any luggage at my mother's side or by the limo. I figured it still must be in the trunk. I opened the screen door wider for my mother to enter while saying, "You came all this way to see me!?", but she did not come in. She said the most beautiful words I've ever heard her say, she said, "I came because I love you!" Oh my goodness! I'd waited a lifetime for my mother to tell me that. In actuality I can never remember hear her ever saying those words to me. I used to tell her I loved her all the time, but all I got back was blank air.I asked her where were her bags and who was that limo driver and she said as she looked back at him and smiles, "Oh he's come to take me some place I can't stay, be good!" And with that morning came.

When I woke up I felt so refreshed, not like I had been asleep at all. I knew the Experience was relative, but it did not feel foreboding, it was sweet! It was so vivid and still playing in my head. I was so excited about it that I shared it with a few of my friends. Later that afternoon I noticed my brother's phone number from the states show in my caller ID, but the call kept dropping. I didn't think anything much regarding his call because he would call me every now and then to check on me. A few minutes later my youngest son called and for lack of tact or just not knowing how to say it he blurted out, "My Grandmother, your Mother is dead!" I didn't hear that, I couldn't hear that, even though I heard it. It wasn't possible I thought, I was just with her. Then I knew, she had stopped by to see me on her exit from this Earth, this existence. What a blessing I had received!

I was so choked up I couldn't cry. All I could say was, "My mother is dead". What a horrible thing to have to say to oneself. The woman that bore me in her womb, nursed me from her breast was no more here for me to go to, talk to, touch. The tears began to fall, then another call from my brother, "Vick, Mom is dead"! I didn't want to hear that anymore. After I finished talking to my brother I tried to cry my eyes out, but I could hear my mother's voice saying to me firmly, "Stop that! You've got too much work to do for that"! She was still with me. What is this favor I'm receiving I thought. Since the her and my brother shared a very strong bond I was really surprised that she was with me.I said OK over and over again and tried to contain myself, I had to and besides you can't fall apart if no one is there to help put you back together. And how do you fall down when GOD is holding you up!?

I needed to get to my family. My brother, my children needed me to be there and I knew nothing would go on without me. No way I was going to miss my mother's celebration of life! My brother was worried cause he couldn't get all the money together to buy me a ticket back to the states, plus start to take care of our mother's affairs.
 
 
I stilled myself, thanked GOD for the Experience with her, prayed and waited on HIM to show up and show out. I had $10 to my name.           
 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Feeling Jobish!


Ouch was the word and if you didn't read my post on Monday, “Ouch”, you won’t get where I’m coming from.

I was in so much, unbelievable and almost unbearable pain. Nothing but Faith brought me through! I guess you may wonder, “Why does she keep going back over there with all this stuff that keeps happening?” Well, I didn't and don’t have a choice, not if I want to open all the gifts GOD had blessed me with. You see, I’m following my spirit, walking by Faith. It’s a part of my journey.

This journey, this part of it is an adrenaline rush! I haven’t ridden a roller coaster or watched a horror movie in years because I don’t like feeling spooked or scared, but here! Please, I wish I knew how to type the theme to the “Twighlight Zone”.  Being here is like hearing something creepy around the corner and you quietly tip toe up to the corner and carefully peep around afraid, but anxious to see what’s there. Boo! Hahahaha! Ohhh my goodness! Yeah, it’s like that!

Like today, a friend was taking me home after we had finished at the gym and we were discussing the abundance of watermelon in the country right now. I’m telling you watermelon is every where! Anyway, I said to him that it was so much watermelon around that people should be giving it away. In less than 2 minutes we stopped at a fruit and vegetable stand along the road side so I could buy a red pepper and a woman walked up and gave us 2 big slices of watermelon! Uh huh, yep!

Back to me saying ouch! I was in pain when I laid down, sat down or stood up and walking was torture, but I was in a place that was so serene. I knew I was going to be alright! It was amazing! When there’s nothing you can do, but let go and let GOD you find that peace that surpasses all understanding. I also knew I had to brace myself because I could still feel that hair rising on the back of my neck. I was starting to get a vibe, whoa!

As I looked back on things I began to feel a kinship with Job, not job. Job, from the Bible Job and ask GOD to forgive me cause I wasn't trying to compare myself with him, but stuff was happening. You know the story of Job, right? Satan wanted to test his faith so GOD lowered HIS hedge around Job so the evil one did his thing to Job. He lost his children, possessions, all his wealth, his health, but not his faith. I began praying for protection for my family.  I kept praying for JAH to get me back to the states.

Now I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t come from a financially wealthy family, have friends on Easy Street or have a Sugar Daddy, Salt Daddy, no kind of Daddy so it wasn't no phoning home for some cash. Some of them even thought I had it coming for being here, but it’s my walk I’ll have to account for and no one else’s, we’re not always called to pleasant places in life, be it physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.  I’m not usually a person that will ask for help anyway. When you’re so used to depending and counting on yourself it’s hard to turn to others. And it’s been times I turned and no one was there. I’m thankful for my sister friends here that took their time and care for me during those days as the do all the days. 

Did you say watermelon, huh what!?
Then I had that dream, that experience and what a difference a day makes, 24 little hours if it was that long!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Kingdoms to domination



As promised, I will post at least once weekly information on Gambia’s History/Culture. Today is the day for this week!

I want you to notice that when I start giving information about Gambia and African History that I do not start with the slave trade and no one should! Africa existed with its rich history and civilizations long before slavery. Only in books written by others are marginalized so, but that’s a whole different post. Last week I started with the peoples of The Gambia.


Let’s continue……
In the 14th century, the (Manding) of Mali, Mali Empire-established by a Mandinka, Sundiata Keita, leader of the Malinke` people encompassed the areas from the edge of the Sahara to the forests of the south in is what now Liberia & Sierra Leone. From east to west it covered all regionsbetween Takedda beyond the Niger Buckle covering the Senegambia to the Atlantic Ocean. This vast empire controlled nearly all the trans-Saharan trade, and contact with rulers of Arab states.

Though the rise of the Mali Empire was swift its decline was slow. By the beginning of the century the empire had last its hegemony over the affairs of Western Sudan and had been reduced into the small area of Kangaba where it had 1st originated. By the mid 15th century a group of Mandingos drifted into the area of the Gambia River Basin. 

The 1st Europeans to reach te river were the Portuguese in 1455.  Captains Luiz de Cadamosto and Antoniotti Usodimare traveled a few kilometers upstream before being repulsed by angry local inhabitants. In 1456 the same group returned and this time managed to travel 20 miles up river and came across what we now know as Kunta Kente Island (formerly known as James Island).

In the early 15th century Prince Henry of Portugal began instructing navigators to sail long the West Coast of Africa in order to circumvent the Arab and Muslim domination of the trans-Saharan gold trade, which was by that time the centerpiece of Portugal's public finances. portugal continued to monopolize the slave trade along the West African Coast throughout the 16th century in their trading of salt, ostrich feathers, pots.pans and gunpowder that was exchanged for ivory, ebony, beeswax, gold and slaves. It is suggested that the Gambia River's name originated from the Portuguese word "cambio", meaning exchange or trade.

By the 16th century the large agricultural and commercial estates owned by the Portuguese in Brazil needed more labor an they began to transport even more slaves. The Portuguese developed the slave trade on a large scale and had a virtual monopoly on it until the mid 16th century when Britain joined the slave trade. The Portuguese were eventually ousted by the British and the French.

The Baltic Germans built a fort on James Island in 1651. Ten years later they were ousted by the British who were themselves under threat from French ships, pirates and the mainland African Kings. Fort James lost lost its strategic appeal with the construction of new forts at Barra and Bathurst (now Banjul) at the mouth of the Gambia River which were better placed to control the movement of ships with their cargo. Fort James continued to serve as a slave collection point until the slave trade was abolished.

Companies such as, Companies of Merchant Trading in West Africa, The Royal Adventurers, and the Royal African Company traded and controlled the area. By the mid 17th century the slave trade had over-shadowed all other trade. The British and French competed fiercely for the control of the slave trade in the area.

The name of James Island was forever changed during the 2011 Roots Homecoming Festival by the president of The Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr. Yahya A J J Jammeh to Kunta Kente Island.
Add caption Kunta Kente Island, only a mere fraction of its original size. it is slowly, but surely being taken by the sea even thought it sits in The River Gambia the Atlantic Ocean's waters and currents control the environment. 






View from a cell on the Island.

FYI: Slave Trade and where they came from:
Nigeria 24%              Angola 24%              Ghana 16%               Senegambia Region 13%
Guinea Bissau 11%            Sierra Leone 6%                           Other African Countries 6%

In my next info share we'll skip ahead a few centuries to cover the latest information on Gambia.
Stay blessed, back on Friday! 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Ouch!


I hope everyone had a pleasant weekend and a brilliant Monday! I don’t know why so many people complain about Mondays, they are the start of great things to come for the week!

If you didn't read the post, “Be out in 24 Hours or Else”, you won’t know where I’m coming from, because it’s the continuation of my journey.  Nope, I’m not refreshing anyone’s memory or doing a review, we’re going to move forward cause that’s what time and life does.

Life swung into overdrive again in the midst of the chaos!  I was working at the university full time, directing and managing my organization, looking for a place to live with only a few days remaining on my contact, when lo and behold Miss Black America comes to The Gambia. I’m not talking about the female that holds the title, but the pageant itself! Yep, for some reason or the other the 20th Edition of the Miss Black USA Beauty Pageant was held in Gambia in 2007 and because I worked at the university in the “International Affairs Office”, it became part of my assignment to assist and work on various committees.   Phew, can a sister get a break!? Wow, cry babies most of them. I've never seen anything like it before. Bourgeois, I prefer to say boogie!

Working with theses sisters and their families was a trip! They’d pout of the bottled water wasn't the right temperature while all I could think about was getting a moment so I could go look at another apartment or house to rent. They were escorted around by the government like queens!  By the time the pageant and it festivities were finished I had moved into my new home. I felt like I could finally breathe, maybe take a day off and catch myself, Ha!

I had noticed that I was having pain in my right hip more frequently than usual.  Every now and then I would get residual pain there since the injury and surgeries from the car accident when I was fifteen, but this was different. It didn't subside with the usual Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen.  I thought that maybe since I had become so sedentary that I could start going for long walks on my lunch break to get some exercise that it would improve, but to no avail. I tried to shake it off, pray it away and ignore it, but it was there, this horrible pain. The teaching hospital here is connected to the university so I had a talk with the registrar and he referred me to an orthopedist. At that time, still could be Cubans were teachers and many contracted at teaching hospital so I was pretty confident they’d be able to detect what was going on.

Boom, right hip joint deteriorating! I was prescribed physical therapy (PT), vitamin B12 injections and Ibuprofen. The PT I didn't mind at all because I needed to move my body, but the massage part, oooooohhh weeeeeee, uh uh no! Listen people, standing directly over someone and leaning, pressing on them with all your weight and might is not a massage! I want to say that again in case it got missed because many people here are giving massages like that! Please, the therapist would do just that after putting some infer red heat to the area. Oh my goodness, needless to say I didn't keep going to PT. It actually got worse after that and I bean to limp badly I was in so much pain, but I kept moving. I had to. I needed to get back to the states. I needed to get back to take care of my business, the business of me taking care of me and I wanted to get back to my Mother. She had been calling me asking me to come see her.

My appointment at the university was for six months and it was time for my renewal. I had no reason not to think my contract would be renewed. My work was good and I was getting great reviews and feedback. It wasn't  no renewal. I asked how did they reach their decision and I was told that complaints had been raised about my position or the position I was sitting in. Policy stated that only a qualified Gambian should hold administrative post. I reminded them that the vice chancellor was from Norway! Whatever, I got my toys and went home! To this day only Gambians work in administration, even the vice chancellor had to go.

What am I going to do now? I was dong my best not to feel sorry for myself, but to be still and listen. I was kind of eerily peaceful. I just knew GOD had m cradled in HIS arms. I didn't want to fight the air! You know that’s just spinning around, going here and there, up and down looking for an answer that’s not any place where you can find it. I was living from paycheck to paycheck so saving was almost out of the question and besides whatever I could save I needed to use for my ticket and rent would be due again soon. I starting having an inkling, that thing that touches you on the inside trying to tell you something you don’t want to hear. All I know is that I began to feel like I was being tried like Job. Not only felt it, but heard it. But when I heard it, it was like a gentle whisper so I wasn't afraid.

I don’t know why I did, but I did keep a couple of canes from the container of goods that INTBN had helped donate, but I was sure glad I did. I couldn't walk without one. It was horrible, the pain. I’d rather give birth than endure that kind of pain and loss of mobility. People count your blessings! It kept coming that inkling, that premonition and then one Thursday night or early Friday Morning I had the most vivid and beautiful dream I've ever had. It wasn't even like a dream; it was like I was standing there in the midst of what was going on, I could touch it!


Hold on, it's getting deep! Back on Wednesday!

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Republic of The Gambia



Oops! I’m sorry! I forgot to post on Wednesday, the day totally got away from me. Another big sorry I’d like to offer is for not giving you more information on Gambia. It’s not fair for me to assume you know about here, so at least once a week I’ll start devoting a day to information on Gambia.
This week I’ll start by focusing on the people of Gambia.
The Gambia, officially (The Republic of The Gambia), also commonly known as Gambia, is a country in West Africa. Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
The country is situated around the Gambia River, the nations namesake with an estimated population of just over 1.7 million people.



There are signs that among the first people to settle in The Gambia were the Jola. The banks of The River Gambia have been inhabited continuously for many thousands of years. There are indeed pottery fragments that have been found and have been dated to about 5,500 year old. There is some historical evidence that some of the ancient peoples of Europe were in continuous contact with the West Africa region. 

The first known written record about The 
Gambia is a notation in the writings of Hanno, the Carthaginian, of his voyage down the west coast of Africa in about BC 470. These links came to an end with the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise and the subsequent expansion of Islam from North Africa. 

As far back as AD 500, towns and villages based on 
agriculture and the knowledge of iron were scattered across West Africa. As we move into first millennium, trade and commercial activities increased substantially between the areas north and south of the Sahara. It is assumed that between the 5th and 8th centuries most of the Senegambian area was populated by the tribe of the Serahule, and their descendants represent about 9% of today's Gambian population.
There are 8 main ethnic groups in Gambia living side by side with a minimum of inter-tribal friction, each preserving its own language, music, cultural traditions and even caste systems though there is an increasing amount of cultural interaction and fusion. Indeed, the average Gambian will tell you he feels he has more in common with his countrymen than he has with a Senegalese from the same tribe! This by no means suggests that there is a lack of individual identity. While there is growth in multi-ethnic expressions, the search by groups to reaffirm their identities remains. 

Each of these communities speak their own language, all of which are classified as part of the Niger-Congo language group and as a whole represent a snap-shot of Senegambia society. However, classifying people by blood or ethnic traits is increasingly difficult as there have been extensive migrations and inter-marriages over the centuries. There were migrations of people into the Gambia before the 19th century but such movement of people greatly increased after the establishment of Bathurst (Banjul) in 1816. They came from Casamance, Futa Toro, Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea Bissau and other West African countries.

The single largest ethnic group in Gambia is the Mandinka, (Mandingos) an agricultural people with a hereditary nobility. Before they migrated to the Gambia valley they lived in the northern slopes of Futa Jallon Plateau. The country of the Manding is in the Niger Valley. 

The 
Wolofs are very prominent in the capital city of Banjul and are prominent in the Senegambia region. Their language is the lingua franca for Gambia and can be heard being spoken in trading centers and family compounds. In the up-river area of Gambia they are called the Fanafa.
The people called the Creoles or Akus, are Christians who are descendants of freed slaves who first came to The Gambia in 1787 from Sierra Leone. and who rank among the bureaucratic elite as well a being prominent in the private professional classes.

The Jola or Kujamat people are predominantly organized around the cultivation of rice and are mainly based in the Foni district of the Western Division. Theirs is a uniquely segmentary society with no tradition of having a paramount chief. Their traditional location in swamps and deep forests meant that they were among the last people to be converted to Islam and captured as slaves.


The 
Fulanis or Pol Futa a they are sometimes known are mainly engaged in herding of cattle and running their ubiquitous small corner shops. They are generally of lighter skin than most of the population and several theories, some of which have proved controversial have been put forward as to where they originally came from. 

The 
Serahule people are involved mainly in farming, trade and property development. They can be found in their largest numbers in the Basse region and speak in a number of dialects including Azer and Kinbakka. They created the Ghana Empire which encompassed Mauritania to present-day Ghana.

The other ethnic groups are the 
Serer who are predominantly involved in fisheries have customs and a language which bear considerable similarities to the Wolof. Then there are the Tukulor who share strong ties with the Fulani's culture, history and traditions and are mainly engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. 

There also exists a small community of 
other groups such as the Lebanese, Europeans, Mansoanka, Bayot , Bambara, Badibunka, Balanta, Hausa, Mankanya, the Mandjak Christians and Africans from the Diaspora and Africans from other African countries.

If you click on the highlighted words it will take you to links where you can read more. Next time the post on Gambia will focus on it's history from Empires and Kings to slavery and independence.