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City of Banjul
Thursday, June 20, 2024

Echoes of Fulladu: A tormented soul

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The evening had descended like a heavy cloak over the river, shrouding the landscape in an inky darkness. The air was cool carrying with it a hint of dampness that settled on the skin like a gentle mist. The moon hung low in the sky, casting a pale, silvery light that danced upon the rippling surface of the water, illuminating the way for the travelers making their journey along the river to Kanjor from Sareh Gehlajor.

As the boat glided silently through the tranquil waters, the mangroves lining the riverbanks seemed to come alive in the darkness of the night. Their twisted roots delved deep into the murky depths, anchoring them firmly to the riverbed as they swayed in eerie unison to the rhythm of the gentle current. With each graceful movement, the mangroves cast strange, distorted shadows that danced and flickered in the pale moonlight, creating an out-of-the-world tableau that captured the imagination.

To the five friends—Bocar Jawo, Mama Kandeh, Ousman Baldeh, Goundor Wandianga, and Mamadou Jamanka—the mangroves loomed like ancient guardians, their gnarled branches reaching out like skeletal fingers towards the heavens. In the stillness of the night, they seemed to whisper secrets of the river’s past, their silent vigilance a testament to the timeless wisdom of nature.

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Amidst the ghostly ambiance of the river’s embrace, a heavy silence enveloped the group, stifling any attempt at conversation. Each member, lost in the depths of their own thoughts and worries, seemed to carry the weight of the night upon their shoulders. Even Cherno Sirajo, typically jovial and animated, succumbed to the somber atmosphere, his attempts at levity falling flat against the backdrop of collective concern.

The air hung heavy with anticipation as the boat forged ahead through the murky waters, the only sound breaking the silence being the gentle rhythm of the waves against the vessel’s hull. It was a reminder of the challenges that lay ahead and the uncertainty that gripped their hearts.

As the boat continued its journey, Yerro remained cocooned in the darkness of his own thoughts, his eyes tightly shut against the relentless pain that gnawed at him. In the rhythmic motion of the boat, he sought solace, finding a fleeting distraction from the agony that gripped his body. Pain had become a familiar companion, its presence almost bearable in its predictability, though it remained an unwelcome intruder in his life.

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With each passing moment, Yerro’s mind wandered back to the earliest memories of his life, fragments of recollection coalescing into a mosaic of images from his childhood. He remembered the ache of longing for a mother he never knew, his aunt’s words echoing in his ears as she explained that she had passed away shortly after his birth. It was a wound that never fully healed, a void in his heart that he carried with him through the years.

His thoughts then turned to his father, a man of short stature but with a towering presence in Yerro’s life. With clear skin and eyes the color of storm clouds, his father was both firm and hardworking, instilling in Yerro a sense of resilience and determination. Despite their close bond, Yerro couldn’t shake the memory of his father’s remarriages, each bringing with them a new wave of cruelty from his stepmothers towards him.

Shielding himself from the painful memories of his stepmothers’ cruelty, Yerro had buried those memories deep within, hoping to forget the sting of their accusations and the agony of their beatings. Instead, he focused on the moments of solace he found in the simple joys of childhood.

He recalled the countless hours spent gazing out of windows, yearning for a sense of belonging that always seemed just out of reach. Even within the confines of his own home, he struggled to fit in, his innocence no match for the harsh judgments of his father’s first wife.

One particular incident stood out vividly in his mind—a false accusation of theft that had rocked his world at the tender age of seven. Accused by his stepmother of stealing money, Yerro found himself thrust into a whirlwind of shame and humiliation, his protests falling on deaf ears as the accusations echoed through the household.

But it wasn’t just the false accusations that haunted him; it was the resulting beatings and the overwhelming sense of injustice that left the deepest scars on his young soul. The shame of being branded a thief, of being seen as unworthy of trust or compassion, lingered long after the bruises had faded.

Another painful memory surfaced—a false accusation of cruelty towards his infant half-sibling. Tasked with caring for the baby in his stepmother’s absence, Yerro had rushed to comfort the wailing child, only to be met with accusations of harm upon her return. Confusion and desperation gripped him as he tried to soothe the baby’s cries, his efforts twisted into further evidence of his alleged wrongdoing.

In both instances, it wasn’t the physical pain of the beatings or the false accusations themselves that haunted Yerro the most—it was the profound sense of betrayal and injustice, the crushing weight of shame and humiliation that threatened to suffocate him. Though he never voiced his pain, his father could see the mistreatment, eventually taking him away from the toxic environment to be raised by Samba Wandianga, a friend who welcomed him into his home as his own.

Separated from the toxic environment of his father’s household, Yerro found refuge in the home of Samba Wandianga, a friend who became a father figure in his life. Despite the absence of blood ties, Samba welcomed Yerro into his family with open arms, fulfilling a promise made to Yerro’s father before his untimely demise. It was a gesture of kindness and compassion that spoke volumes about Samba’s character, his commitment to honoring his word even in the face of adversity.

Raised alongside Samba’s own children, including Borogie, who would later become his first wife, Yerro found himself embraced by a newfound sense of belonging. Yet, despite the warmth and acceptance he received from Samba and his family, the scars of his tumultuous upbringing lingered, a constant reminder of the pain and shame he had endured.

Throughout his childhood, Yerro grappled with feelings of alienation and isolation, forever marked by the stigma of being an outsider in his own family. But amidst the darkness, there were moments of light—the laughter of his siblings, the warmth of Samba’s guidance—that offered glimmers of hope in an otherwise turbulent world.

Reflecting on his adult life, Yerro felt a pang of regret for the pain he had caused Borogie, his first wife, especially after his marriage to Dado. His heart was torn between his love for both women, a conflict that weighed heavily on his conscience. He knew that he had failed to convey his true feelings to Borogie, leaving her to feel undesired and unloved. Now, as he faced the possibility of never seeing her again, he longed for the chance to make amends, to seek forgiveness and understanding for the choices he had made.

Growing up side by side, Borogie was not just a sister to Yerro; she was the beacon of light that illuminated his heart, igniting within him a desire to become the man of her dreams. From their earliest days together, Borogie had been a constant presence in Yerro’s life, caring for him with a tenderness that surpassed mere sibling affection.

Even before their marriage, Borogie had played the role of caretaker, tending to Yerro’s needs with unwavering devotion. She cleaned his room, laundered his clothes, and prepared his meals after long days of hard work, her love for him evident in every gesture.

However, their marriage had not unfolded as Borogie had envisioned. Yerro’s deep-seated wounds from childhood remained unhealed, rendering him unable to fully open himself up in the relationship. Unlike his second wife, Dado, who was content simply to be remarried, Borogie longed for a deeper emotional connection—a connection that Yerro struggled to provide.

Borogie’s need for love and validation exceeded what Yerro could offer, leaving him feeling inadequate and unable to meet her expectations. Despite his best efforts, he found himself unable to bridge the emotional distance between them, his own insecurities and unresolved traumas serving as barriers to intimacy and connection.

As much as Yerro wished he could be the partner Borogie deserved, he knew that his limitations prevented him from fulfilling her deepest emotional needs. And though it pained him to see her longing for a love he couldn’t fully give, he remained haunted by the knowledge that he was unable to be the man she had always hoped he would be.

With each passing moment, the weight of regret and longing settled like a heavy burden on Yerro’s shoulders, his only hope lying in the possibility of recovery and reconciliation. If only he could find the strength to convey his deepest sentiments, perhaps there would still be a chance for redemption in the eyes of the woman he had wronged.

As the boat gently approached the riverbank, the friends sprang into action with a renewed vigor and determination. Each member of the group moved with purpose, their solidarity unwavering as they worked together to assist Yerro off the vessel and onto the solid ground of the riverbank. It was a scene of unity and cooperation, as the villagers who had gathered to offer their support joined forces with the friends, forming a human chain to ensure Yerro’s safe disembarkation.

With careful guidance and steady hands, they helped Yerro navigate the transition from boat to land, their collective strength serving as a reassuring presence amidst the uncertainty of the night. Despite the darkness that surrounded them, there was a palpable sense of hope and resilience in the air, a testament to the unwavering spirit of the community.

As they guided Yerro towards the waiting shore, it was clear that this was just the beginning of his journey towards healing. But with the unwavering support of his friends and neighbors, he was not alone. Together, they would face the challenges ahead, drawing strength from the bonds of friendship and the reassuring embrace of their community. And as they set foot on solid ground, they knew that they would face whatever lay ahead with courage, determination, and the unwavering support of those who stood beside them.

To be contd.

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