|"This is the greatness of these people, they put others before
themselves and not many people possess this gift," Sairah Amini said of the caring sand sharing attitude she show in Gambian children.|
Sairah Amini, a British school teacher, has recounted her Gambian experience as “memorable and unmatched”.
“I have lived and travelled in many different parts of the world, but have never felt the warmth and love as I did from the Gambian people,” she said.
“When I thought of going to Gambia in my mind I had imagined a very poor country with very hot temperature and almost no facilities, and I was mentally prepared to tackle the 12 day trip as a challenge,” Ms Amini of Bradford recounted.
Amini was part of a Humanity First team of volunteers from the United Kingdom for a period of twelve days. During the trip, Amini and her team visited a dozen of schools across the country and distributed lot of educational materials including laptop computers, footballs, text books, stationery, uniforms and shoes - and also made cash donations.
Our trip was for a total of twelve days in which the first 4 days we stayed in the Capital where we received our container, off-loaded it and arranged materials, which we were going to take personally to fourteen of the selected schools, she explained.
We then travelled around Gambia visiting schools in very remote villages for 4 days. Very thorough plans were made of our twelve days with daily activities by the Gambian Humanity First team and were carried out precisely, she added.
Amini observed that “at schools children would greet us at the gates, singing welcome songs while under the hot sun. Many children would come to us to play and were curious why we had come to the Gambia.”
She said they were very welcoming and happy we had come to meet them and when we explained we had come to give some materials to the schools which would help them in their education, the reaction on these children’s faces was priceless, the happiness that would bounce was heartfelt and so was their appreciation.
However, Amini lamented that “it broke my heart to see children without any shoes, walking nearly 7 kilometers from their homes to school each day, in high temperatures up to 41 degrees Celsius.”
She said: “At many schools we gave sweets and biscuits to the children, some of these children may have never had a biscuit in their life before and to be able to share such a basic thing felt amazing.
“Each child would wait patiently for their turn and no child would take twice, in fact if another fellow child did not receive one, they would ask us to give to that child. In one instance, a child was given some juice and all of a sudden another 6 children also turned up. That child shared his one drink with all of the other children and they all got 2 sips each.
“This shows the amount of sacrifice Gambian people has within themselves, they are brought up from childhood to share with one another whatever they have.”
Sairah Amini also recounted that the same thing happened with the Principal of Masroor High School. When he was offered to take some personal items for his family, he refused. His words were “My own family what they have is enough, I don’t need anything for them. Masroor school is my baby, I only want for it.”
This is the greatness of these people, they put others before themselves and not many people possess this gift, she noted.
For her, Gambian people are very caring and probably the best in hospitality. They are content with what little they have and try and make the most out of it.
“One person from the Humanity First team was praising our efforts and said that the type of work we are doing is a form of Jihad, however, it is these people who are really doing jihad.
“Not knowing where their next meal is going to come from yet still keeping faith in Allah and more worried in helping others.
“I pray that the Almighty Allah enables us to help the poor in whatever way we can,” she concluded with specific mention to team members Mrs Razia Amini, head of delegation, Mr Basharat A. Tahir, Mrs Bushra Amini and Ms Maham Ahmad.
Written by Modou S. Joof
Follow on Facebook: The-North-Bank-Evening-Standard