By Ansu Jatta
The whole scene took me by drama when I woke up to the calming morning in the sheen village of Marakissa. I could hear the sound of the elated birds, chanting the serenity of the village in every corner. At the other side, I could hear voices of happy children filling me in comfort, I thought to myself, “what a paradise on earth”! Playing in the open, and footpath leading to the village square, a group of young and enthusiast-looking men came greeting; “safuleh”. Me, who was still in “cloud 16”, only stared at them, still not knowing what to say.
After sometime, I decided to take a walk through the neighbourhood to satisfy my curiosity, to my dismay, every compound was empty, yet the lonely children were more organized than even some houses of Parliament. I lean on one of the local fences and watched the kids happily run after each other pass me, with smiles, I continue watching, remembering my days as a child and the similar games I used to play.
One of the kids ran to me, stretched a hand and spoke in the native language: “baba sumaye”, I looked at him, smiled, and stretched mine with a five dalasis note, shook the hand, and responded in the affirmative “Kasumaye keb”. With supersonic speed he raced back to his friends, shouting back “abarakah”. Still jerked at the same position; I was wondering where the elderly must have gone and out of nowhere came a group of kids led by my little friend; I couldn’t help it, but burst into laughter. I distributed among them some biscuits I had bought along the way and that ended the story with my new little friends.
Half an hour later, I saw a group of women advancing the village, each carrying a bag containing harvests from the village garden. The Community has a very good garden, where women grow different kinds of vegetables: okras, onions, tomatoes, pepper, garden eggs, bitter tomatoes, you name it. It is from these small scale gardening that some of them help supplement their husbands’ expenses, as well as pay their children’s school bills.
Marakissa in its existence is one of the fastest developing villages in the Gambia; located in the Southern part of Brikama, Kombo Central District, West-Coast Region. Her youths in their enthusiast to seeing a world standard community, has ever been championing great projects to meeting this dream. Over the past few years, Marakissa youths were able to register as many projects as you can name: the establishment of an active Village Development Committee [VDC]; with sub-committees; fencing of the village football field, which included the youth centre; a street light project; an annual cultural festival and the list continues.
Marakissa is a multi-diverse community, rich in culture, history and ecosystem. Being a catchment area, it is one of the first communities in the sub-region [West-Coast] to register a health centre and conventional school. Aside culture, it also has a deep history in both Semitic and non-Semitic religions, accommodating; Muslims, Christians with other faiths.
Visit Marakissa this summer and you’ll be thrilled by her youths’ commitment, hospitality, enthusiasm for communal development, love for a brother and many more wonderful things you’ll love to know. And one more thing before you turn in, recreation at its peak, the Marakissa River Camp and King Fisher’s lodge have got you covered for all your tastes of boat rides and other trips with accommodation, trust me, it’s a place worthy of visit.
Long Live Marakissa.
God bless her leadership.