Do you know of a place so peaceful and safe? A place where its people would pick a stranger off the street and bring him home. Give him shelter, offer him a free meal, treat him as if he were part of the family or even provide him with a room to spend the night in comfort and safe hands. The Gambia, as little as it is, has been blessed with such a people.
Over the years, I have lived in The Gambia and traveled to its neighbouring country of Senegal. I have noticed so many things quite a blessing being given to The Gambia and its people. The famous stories being told by most Gambians who have traveled to the outside world and learnt the differences well enough to differentiate, is indeed true. ‘’You won’t know how nice The Gambia is until you’ve stepped outside its frontiers.’’
One interesting thing I grew fond of in The Gambia is the common brewing of ‘’attaya.’’(A local name given to the Chinese green tea). I am not in any way fascinated about the process in which it is brewed however the manner in which it is shared among the people is what captivates me. Anyone, whether initially part of the group brewing the ‘’attaya’’ or a recent arriver even a passer-by could have a share of it by simply asking ‘’nakala ana suma kass’’, roughly translating in the Wolof local language,” where is my share of the tea?”.
To make it even more fun and interesting some would further say, ‘’suma kass mbaa ma touch kass’’ which means “give me my share or I’ll break the little glass cups”. At the hearing of these friendly jokes common to us, the attendees would all burst into laughter and jokingly reply ‘’mba anga feyy kass’’ translating, “then you shall gently pay for the glass cups”. And with a big smile the brewer would pour some of the green tea for the asker whose response to this appealing gesture wearing an even better smile on his face. And gracefully he would thank the group and after happily sipping the tea he would say ‘’dara da ahutko’’ praising the brewer. This only shows how peaceful and beautiful life in The Gambia is.
Gambia among many things is also a land of tradition and culture, during festivals like “Tobaski, Tamharit, Koriteh or even Christmas there is a practice common to us all that has always inspired me right from childhood which taught me a lot that had a great impact on my upbringing. My mother would send me long distances to take food and some uncooked meat to friends and families all over, places like the famous Serrekunda, Dippakunda, Manjai and Tallinding to those who couldn’t afford to buy meat or ram to celebrate these events. Every other family showed the same kind of generosity towards each other, or even more. There is no racial differences culture or tradition as everyone supports one another and celebrates each other’s festivals and events as if we all shared the same beliefs. At the end everyone enjoys and after which we visit each other asking about each other’s well-being and are apologetic for the mistakes and harms we might have knowingly or unknowingly caused each other.
These are times for reconciliation and a fresh start amongst folks to promote love, peace and solidarity. In the Gambia everyone lives happily.
Written by TheInsightfulwriter Gano