By Cherno Abdourahman Bah
Within the space of one week, I have had the opportunity to visit both the Senegalese Embassy in the Gambia and the Gambian Embassy in Dakar, but to be quite honest, I think the Gambian Embassy needs to be shut down!
Our school association is preparing for a research trip to Dakar and it had to send two of its executive members to Dakar to search for accommodation.
A month or so before departure, we sent them an email which they conveniently ignored. After some time, we engaged a friend of ours who works at the embassy regarding it and she told us to write again and she would facilitate. (This tells me that without personal assistance/or favours, we can’t achieve anything).
We did, and this time they replied with a letter which we didn’t prefer any more than the ignored letter. I can’t go into the nitty-gritties of our request and their response, but I can tell you it revealed their unwillingness to serve.
While in Senegal, almost all the Senegalese officials we met did something for us, at least helped in a way. When it was time to go to our own embassy in Dakar, most people told us this, “That embassy is the most useless embassy ever”. To be quite honest, we didn’t take them too serious, until we saw for ourselves.
We solicited for their help to prepare a letter or make a call at least as per the advice we got from Cheikh Anta Diop University, which could facilitate the process of acquiring an accommodation in Dakar, even if it were at a cost.
The embassy said that they could not help us with anything other than give us a telephone number of some guy who is part of the Gambian students association in the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, saying that the association is registered and can help lodge us (I think that was a smart way of sending away from their premises).
Guess what! When we contacted the student, he said they are less than 10 students in that association and they themselves have only four rooms within their control. (I wonder how on earth can those people with their four tiny rooms would host 60 students). We finally had to come back to the Gambia to let them be.
Today, when we visited the Senegalese embassy and met with their humble and ready-to-serve ambassador, he made about 10 calls after he heard about our request. He spoke like someone who is ready to work, and help not only his countrymen, but humanity at large.
After my personal experience with the Gambian embassy, and the experience of other people I spoke to about it, I want to say that our Gambian embassy in Dakar, in my humble opinion is just there to waste our scarce resources because the people whom they are supposed to serve are not served and are completely dissatisfied with their services.
We deserve better!