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Friday, July 19, 2024

Echoes of Fulladu: Paying no mind to fate Part 35

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Despite the flicker of hope, two months passed with Yerro’s condition showing little improvement. The herbalist’s remedies, though prepared with ancient wisdom and precision, seemed to offer only temporary relief. His vision remained clouded, the persistent ache in his eyes became a constant reminder of his ailment. Each dawn brought with it a renewed sense of urgency and the looming possibility of seeking further treatment beyond the village’s borders.

It was during one of these early mornings, as the first light cast its gentle glow over the huts and fields, that Yerro made a decision. He would venture to The Gambia, where he had heard of a healer renowned for treating eye conditions. The journey would be arduous, but the potential for restored sight spurred him on.

Gathering his family in the modest courtyard of their home, Yerro shared his plan. The news was met with a mixture of hope and apprehension. Borogie, months into her fifth pregnancy, was especially torn. The thought of Yerro embarking on such a journey filled her with dread, but she also understood the necessity. It was Borogie who suggested that he travel with Neneh Dado, the beloved and strong-willed wife whose unwavering determination would be an asset on the journey.

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Resolute in her support, Borogie also had to consider her own well-being and that of their unborn child, not to mention their other children. It was decided that she would stay behind with her children at her father’s home in the same region of Kambajor.

Thus, Yerro prepared for his journey. The sense of finality in his movements struck a chord within the family. Neneh Dado, with her practical mind and strong hands, packed the essentials: dried fish, millet, water gourds, and a few herbs the village herbalist had prepared for the journey.

The morning of their departure was marked by a poignant silence, the village still in the grip of dawn’s gentle embrace. Yerro, mounted on the same donkey cart that had carried him to the herbalist weeks before, looked around at the familiar faces of his family and friends. His gaze lingered on Borogie, her eyes filled with a blend of strength and sadness. He reached out involuntarily to his two youngest children, Matou and Khadja, their fingers brushing in a silent exchange of trust and reassurance.

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Later that night, her brothers came for her and her children. Samba Mawdo, her father, had offered his assistance to host his daughter and her family, understanding the gravity of the situation. He was a man of few words, but his presence spoke volumes. Borogie knew she could rely on him in her husband’s absence.

The journey to The Gambia in the early sixties was fraught with challenges. The roads were uneven, the heat oppressive, the forest expansive and the constant buzzing of insects a persistent nuisance. Neneh Dado’s presence was a source of solace for Yerro. Her determination never wavered, her eyes always scanning the horizon for signs of the path ahead.

As they traveled to the border between Casamance and The Gambia, Yerro found his thoughts drifting back to Kadeh. The journey gave him ample time to reflect on their strained relationship. He wondered if this physical distance might somehow bridge the emotional gap that had long existed between them. Perhaps, in his absence, Kadeh would come to realize the weight of responsibility that lay ahead.

Days turned into nights, as they changed donkey carts with trollies and the landscape shifted from familiar fields to the more foreign terrains of The Gambia. The bustling lumo markets, the myriad of new faces, and the unfamiliar dialects added to the sense of being far from home. Yet, amidst the chaos, there was a sense of purpose that kept Yerro and Neneh Dado moving forward.

Upon reaching the healer’s compound in Sareh Bojor, they were greeted with a warm hospitality that belied the healer’s renown. The healer, an elderly woman with eyes that seemed to see into one’s very soul, listened intently to Yerro’s story. Her hands, though aged, moved with a surety that spoke of decades of experience. She examined Yerro’s eyes, her touch gentle but firm, and then set about preparing her remedies.

The days that followed were a blend of treatments and prayers. The healer used a combination of herbs, oils, and rituals that seemed almost mystical in their complexity. Neneh Dado watched with a mix of hope and skepticism, her practical nature at odds with the healer’s ancient practices. Yerro, for his part, placed his trust in the healer, finding comfort in her assuredness.

Back in the village, Borogie settled into her father’s home. The adjustment was not easy, especially for her little ones, but the familiarity of the village provided some solace. She kept herself busy, supported by her elder daughter Nata, tending to the household and preparing for the arrival of her child. Her thoughts often drifted to Yerro, and she found herself whispering prayers for his swift recovery and safe return.

The village continued its rhythm, the daily tasks and routines providing a sense of normalcy. Yet, there was an undercurrent of anticipation, a collective holding of breath as they awaited news of Yerro. The nights were filled with stories of hope and resilience, the villagers drawing strength from their shared experiences.

As the healer’s treatments progressed, Yerro began to notice subtle changes. The pain in his eyes lessened, and though his vision was still blurred, there were moments of clarity that brought a renewed sense of hope. Neneh Dado remained by his side, her unwavering presence a source of strength.

The bond between Yerro and Neneh Dado deepened during this time. They spoke of their hopes and fears, their conversations a mix of practical plans and wistful dreams. Yerro shared his concerns about Kadeh, and Neneh Dado offered her own perspective, her words a blend of wisdom and pragmatism.


Yerro’s return to the village after two weeks spent in The Gambia brought a wave of relief and cautious optimism. The villagers welcomed him with open arms, their faces lit with joy at the sight of their beloved kinsman back among them. Yerro, though still partially impaired, found solace in the familiar surroundings and the loving embrace of his family. Borogie, her belly now round with the promise of new life, and Neneh Dado, ever steadfast and strong, provided the emotional support he needed to navigate the uncertainties of his condition.

Yet, as the days passed, it became clear that while the pain in his eyes had subsided, his vision remained clouded. It was a constant reminder of the journey yet to be completed. Yerro found himself straining to see the faces of those he loved, the outlines blurred and indistinct. The herbalist’s remedies had worked their magic to ease the pain, but the clarity he sought eluded him.

One afternoon, as Yerro sat in the courtyard surrounded by the comforting sounds of village life, Borogie approached him with a determined look in her eyes. “We need to take the next step,” she said softly, her voice carrying a mix of concern and resolve. “I’ve heard of a doctor, Dr. Ebrima Samba, a renowned eye surgeon in The Gambia. They say he performs miracles.”

Yerro nodded, the weight of her words settling on his shoulders. The idea of traveling again was daunting, but the prospect of regaining his sight was too compelling to ignore. Plans were quickly set in motion, and with the support of his family, Yerro prepared for yet another journey.

Thanks to an exceptionally bountiful groundnut harvest. The fields, stretching as far as the eye could see, were a sea of golden crops, the result of hard work and favorable weather. Yerro, before his accident, had spent countless hours tending to his fields, his laborious efforts finally paying off with a harvest that exceeded expectations. The sale of groundnuts that season brought in a considerable sum, enough to fund his return trip to The Gambia for the much-needed eye surgery.

Upon arrival, Yerro and his wife were warmly received by his maternal uncle, Ousman Bah, who lived on Long Street in Banjul. They eagerly anticipated meeting Dr. Samba, the renowned eye specialist. Prior to their arrival, his uncle had made arrangements for an appointment with the doctor.

The trip to Dr. Samba’s clinic was smoother than the previous one, their spirits buoyed by the possibility of a definitive solution. The bustling streets of Banjul, with their vibrant markets and the rhythmic pulse of urban life, were a stark contrast to the quiet of the village. It was here, amidst the cacophony of the city, that Yerro would seek the expertise he needed.

Dr. Ebrima Samba’s clinic was a modest building, but its reputation far outstripped its unassuming exterior. Yerro and Neneh Dado were welcomed by the staff with a warmth that eased their apprehensions. The waiting room was filled with people from all walks of life, each seeking the renowned doctor’s healing touch.

When Yerro’s turn came, he was led into a bright examination room where Dr. Samba awaited him. The doctor, a tall man with a reassuring presence and gentle demeanor, greeted them with a kind smile. His eyes, sharp and perceptive, seemed to take in every detail.

Dr. Samba examined Yerro’s eyes with meticulous care, his hands steady and sure. After a thorough examination, he leaned back and met Yerro’s gaze. “You have a cataract, Yerro,” he said with quiet authority. “The cloudiness in your vision is caused by this. The good news is that it can be treated with surgery. It’s a straightforward procedure, and I believe it will restore your sight.”

Yerro listened intently, absorbing the information. The prospect of surgery was daunting, but the hope of seeing clearly once more outweighed his fears. Dr. Samba explained the procedure in detail, his calm, measured tones providing reassurance. The surgery would involve removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear, artificial one.

After a brief discussion, it was decided that the surgery would take place the following week. The intervening days were filled with a mix of anxiety and anticipation. Neneh Dado remained by Yerro’s side, her unwavering support a constant source of comfort.

To be contd.

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