By Rohey Samba It’s 2019 already! Santa Yallah lou bari… We thank God for life. We thank God for the joy of living. We thank God for the wonders of the world. We thank God for our disappointments, our trials and how we are able to bounce back and triumph after each trial. Unhurt. Unscratched. Loving life as we fear death. We thank God that we are able to thank God…Lol! What is life? This is the question I have asked all of my life. I get the semblance of an answer, when out of the mundane day to day activities and the thin stretch of inactivity in between that permeate my existence, I see hope. I see that layer of hope in the eyes of my broods, in the love of my own family, in the ties that bind my wider family comprising my relations from both sides – both my father’s and my mother’s sides. Both sides I resemble, though to my father’s side I am most partial, as most girls are… I see that hope in the kindness of strangers, in the chattiness of wayfarers, in the humility of beggars, and in the light footedness of kids; my neighbours’ and mine as they frolic and play till the sun goes down. I see the ray of hope lingering still in the far horizon as I watch on… in my relationships, the ones that I still keep, the ones I have lost and the ones that fall along the way. I have no regrets… Mercifully not. No regrets at all. Regrets are a waste of time. Once it felt good. It was right when it felt right… Why bother with the now? Why beat self up? Nothing is changed by regrets. I believe in changing our ways. Repenting after we have committed a wrong, gearing to make things right… May be repenting is too strong a word. You repent when you have sinned. Repentance is toward God. We assume a more suitable word… overcome. We overcome the demon that resides in us, that leads us to regret; through a mastery of self, body, spirit and soul. Yes, overcome is a better word than regret! Hence: I seek the silence Of the throbbing load On my head, I the red sun Guiding daily slog I walk. I hear the whispers Of the scornful slug, Splitting my persona Behind my goaded gourd Stinging me… I rile Over the nothings The whispers pout, In craved annoyance What my nemesis sought I laughed… My laughter soft I cackle in chagrin, My folly disclosed They can’t change me… My load is purpose My vocation, is my God. Let them laugh, Who wants to laugh, And let them talk Their tongues to bite…. Behind my back! I shall overcome. In fact, we shall overcome. Overcome the vagaries of our existence. The vagaries of life that our enemies place on our backs, the ones we place upon ourselves and the ones we are yet to encounter. The imaginary weight that breaks our backs into fine pieces that cannot be mended. We overcome the regrets we feel, the ones we wish we could feel and the ones we wish upon others. We overcome the overwhelming pain of regret as it wounds down into our hearts and makes us lesser humans than we are. For we can only be human…no more Catholic than the Pope… As humans, we start our lives as utterly experiential. We begin as babies, the neediest human beings ever, needing love, comfort and nurturing to aid us grow. We have parents, we have siblings and we have the bigger family, to remove the selfishness from our selves. To expand the circle of kinship; everyone was raised by someone, for we are not born able to fend for ourselves, or cater to our own needs. We are nurtured, whether by our parents, our kinsmen or other people. We are all enveloped in this widening circle of life that links us and brings us together. We understand for our own sake, that we need each other, and we are strengthened by our neediness for one another… As we sort through the confusion of life to learn what feels good, what works, what doesn’t, we form our character, we careen from one relationship to the next. We have moral judgments at the apex of our existence. The morality we are taught as traditions, cultures and religions. With time we grow and we continue to grow…even without the perks of precarity in academic life, life is plane sailing. When I reached thirty, this is what I had to say about life: When I am thirty For a day That I cease to be the next day I see the knowledge of thirty years Walk up to me On paved blunders Tarred by the acceptance Of my own weaknesses Yet not long suffering The notion that I blundered For I have lived When others perished Not by my will I have soared When others plummeted I stood tall When others crumbled and fall And I have stay undaunted Not for want of choices For choices I have had But by the winds of mercy graced To a kindred spirit Strengthened by the fortitude of my Nonchalance In the sphere Of my acceptance I have learnt to walk To crawl and to jump I have learnt to run To love and lust I have learnt to forgive To let go To be patient… I have learnt the world And I have not been oblivious Of the chastisement to frustrate Nor been blind to the derision Of the weaklings Or been unbothered by the Malignancies of haters’ tongues Yet I have chosen to walk on Because walk I will do Towards the gift of life That is never earned but given The gift I have lived As well as I have learnt To live In my thirty years gone And my thirty years to come. Yes. I was thirty for just one day. The next day was thirty years and one day old. Perchance, by the acceptance of will, and destiny or fate, we know the really enemy of man is not the one we profess to have, the one who can’t stand our success or try to stop our progress. We know life is a gift that is given for a while. That the Giver will retrieve His gift in His own time. This evades any destructive exercise in vanity. Hopefully. Unconcerned by our sentiments. The Giver did not make a promise to anyone. We take for granted we live, we grow and we expire at a ripe age. Yet growth is not a given. We are not sure we will live long. We are modulated by time. The gift of time is what God gives us to live our lives. Yet there is no turning back time. Time is the eternal enemy of man, myself and yourself inclusive. Time is the fake friend we seek. And time, is no man’s friend. Let time be gone… On my twentieth birthday, I wrote the poem Growth: She got up She walked away So slowly she went Never turned back, she did Away, away, away… Where has she gone Why did she go When did she go Will she ever return No she won’t Why should she How could she Where would she She will never return What was her name Her occupation Her mode of life Her dress sense Her mannerism Her destination She was growth She was diligent Never flamboyant Once she set on a path Her strict motto was: No turning back Thus our lives are the summation of our experiences, our feelings, our aspirations, affections and affectations. Our lives are a culmination of traditions, taboos, miscreant behaviours and the yearnings to do right, by self, by God and by the god that resides in us, controls us and seeks to destroy our sanity – the destroyer of pleasure, our ‘nafs’, whims, desires and egoism. They say the world will end when the greenhouse gases overwhelm the earth and the heat of the sun kills all living things. I dispute. I was taught Kun fa Ya Kun… and I don’t care either way. I will not live to see that in the next century. My world will end when my day on earth ends- decided before I was even born. God does not sign a contract with anyone- not least of all I. But above all, our lives are meaningful because we are in possession of hope. This is What Fear Can’t Kill: If fear be the force That holds me back Hope shall guide me Back to my path For the sun’s ambit Does clear by day Yet it crawls back At each night’s end So lives on hope That fear can’t kill Nor time be stealth To steal from me Hope, that rainbow Up the sky A splash of shade Painting light Appearing timely When the rains Have fallen Heralding tidings That the storms Are gone Touched the soul Of the farmer is Who stands to welcome Each year there is And who is more hopeful Than the farmer is Who tills the land Before the rains Have fallen In the end, when I ask, why do I live? The unending question that torments my existence, the answer does not dampen my spirit for I know I was meant to write. When I moan my rejection, when I can’t talk about things, I write about it. Words are all I have. That is the reason I was born. To write. Happy New Year…]]>
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By Omar Bah The Ministry of Defense has said the Gambia Armed Forces are ready to offer assistance to the civilian authorities across regional and...
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