A Day With Abie Darboe, aged 13

A Blog Post from Footsteps Eco-Lodge in The Gambia

by David White - 28 August 2013

A letter written by a Gambian schoolgirl

Just the other day I was talking with Sarani, our guide, and we were reminiscing about the past.

Sarani and David We have a lot of history dating back more than ten years now. Sarani and his family have been a big part of my life here in The Gambia, indeed I lived with Sarani, his wife Roki and their three children for more than one year in 2007/2008. Their children are called Abie (then 7 yrs) and Buba (then 5 yrs) and Mariama (then 6 months).

Sarani's family From the moment I first met Mariama that little girl screamed every time she saw me, something that didn't stop till around a year or so later.

Buba likes to be off somewhere all the time, usually finding plenty of hi jinx on the way, such as the time he came into the compound brandishing his father's cutlass and treating an almost mature banana tree as his mortal enemy. I have to say Buba gave short thrift to that tree, it fell defeated after just a quick barrage of cut and thrusts. I still remember the proud look of victory on his face, a look which disappeared a moment after Sarani's entrance. OOOOUUUCCHHH.

Abie Darboe

Then there is Abie, at seven years old, her written and spoken English were better than her contemporaries. Lucky job too because she is a proper chatterbox, always smiling and full of energy. So with all this reminiscing it occurred to me that I hadn't seen them as a family for way too long and asked Sarani if they would like to come for ice cream (daft question, all kids love ice cream right?). He said they would come the following Monday.

He was very proud to tell me that Abie (now 13) is top in her class and said he would ask her to write me a letter about her days. Here is her letter:

"Dear David,

I am here to explain to you about my daily activities. The following activities I did from early in the morning till the evening.

When I wake up at 7:00 am in the morning I performed absolution and pray. After prayers I greet dad and mum. I sweep our house and rope the floor. I take my breakfast, fetch water from the well, wash my cloths, wash the bowls, cooking pot, and so on. After that my mum sent me to the market to buy cooking ingredients for her.

Sometime I help her for cooking before I go to school in the afternoon. I also iron my uniform, take bath, before school time. I go to school at 12:30 and we close at 6:00 pm in the evening. If I come I take my lunch. After taken my lunch I take two hours to rest before I start study my book. I started studies at 9:00 pm - 11:30 pm then I go to bed till the next day. This is what I did every day.

From Abie Darboe"

Abie's siblings

After reading my first thought was of how hard working and studious she has become. When asked what she wanted to be when older, she replied a politician. I said "I'm extremely proud of you Abie and I think someday I will be as equally proud of your political career".

Note of thanks to Sarani and Roki.

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