By Ebrima Baldeh
So sad that I am even writing about this; when I look around in any typical village; I see little children, riding donkey carts, small girls hawking gerte saff- (roasted peanuts) and the big men of the village will spend quality time at the bantaba behaving as if they are the only ones who matter. In some compounds, you can pierce through at any direction, if you don’t want to be caught or seen loitering around perhaps waiting to collect or be collected.
Suddenly, the donkeys are braying, perhaps hungry after a long day at work in the farm, with no water and no hay to replenish its stock. Some try-to-know-me guys, eager to impress you will want to tell you that they were around when the village was being established.
How many times are they going to tell you that in their prime years, they used to harvest a hundred donkeys in their farm; by then, the season was good and money was plentiful? Not now, when grown-up men nowadays lack depanse that is supposed to sustain the family in the house, no wonder, strange farmers tend to grow rich quick because the labor force has drastically reduced in rural communities.
It’s either Messi or Chris, football, and plenty of time for the semesters who are also good at colonizing raw youths and inject in them Europe and how the streets and everything else there is easy to get.
As soon as the cock crows, the smart ones will get up and perform the rituals; go to the farm, collect firewood and return home for lunch. As for the older women, the journey to and fro Jahally rice fields have eaten up all their shoes, and their weak bodies have grown slender.
If they are lucky to catch one meal, their stars must be commended for keeping the little children from eating it and come up with frivolous excuses such as: it was the wind that swept away all the food.
Last night, a flippant owl spent all his time crying; a stranger laughed it off but the village elders say it was a sign of what is to come; it was not a laughing matter. The stranger prevailed on the villagers to reason and reason well. Forget about resolving the crisis, when old age, traditions and modernity clash; it is not an ordinary fight that can be quickly quenched.
The stranger was summoned by the council of elders who wanted to know why the stranger was acting very strange. As soon as the matter was raised before the elder-in-chief, the stranger tendered his apology and said he was terribly sorry for what he said.
That night, the stranger could not close his eyes; the eyes were fixated on the troubles typical villages go through in their quest to develop. But it was a pathetic era for the community and their council of elders whose ancient beliefs and customs are costing the village dearly! That the crying of an owl which was perceived as comical by the stranger prompted the village authorities to come down heavily on the one cursing the village.
How then can developments be realized if people ascribe certain beliefs to doom?
After a long period of inactivity on the part of the nocturnal beings; the stranger who was a medical doctor played another expensive prank on them. This time, the village chief was sick and needed to taken to be the clinic for treatment; he told the village elders to consult the oracles because it was no use visiting the hospital.
The council of elders said it was time this mad stranger was declared persona non grata; now his madness has come to tipping point. By dint of fate, a group of doctors without borders suddenly stormed the village and were shocked to discover one of theirs in the village.
Everyone in the village felt ashamed for the way the stranger had been handled; on the whole the stranger was a revered figure in the eyes of the visiting doctors.
As from today, the village chief said after the stranger had finished treating him, ‘this man will always have his final say, we will not ridicule him, we will continue to hold him in high esteem.’
At the end of their visit, the stranger declared that he was returning with his colleagues, and told them to do whatever they thought was important for the development of the village.
He made it clear that no one should influence what they should do as far as developments of the village were concerned. Modern or traditional, other people have no right to decide for you.