Feature/Taking Gambian Solidarity to Hollywood
Monday, April 02, 2012
Mr. Bakary Jallow at Hollywood & Highland showing off the road to Hollywood; stories for some of the stars
As members of the Gambian Association of Phoenix, Arizona, two of our editors with their spouses and friends traveled to Los Angeles, California to attend a February 18 Gambian Independence Day celebration. It was a time to unwind and strengthen Gambian ties.
As Told To My Basse
As Gambians around the world prepared to celebrate The Gambia’s 47th Independence anniversary, we set out on a six-hour trip to Los Angeles, California, for our own Independence Day celebration. The United Gambian Association of Southern California had invited us, members of the Gambian Association of Phoenix, Arizona (GAPA), to join them in celebration of this important day in our nation’s history.
We arrived in Los Angeles at different times on Friday, February 17, 2012. It was a smooth ride. No busy traffic. The entire group had arrived by two o’clock in the afternoon. Then the celebration began. The “JOTTIE” (hangout) was officially set in motion with a kettle of green tea (Attayah) brewing while the music played on the side. We were physically far away from The Gambia but emotionally, we felt deeply attached to our motherland. All the favorite indoor pastimes in The Gambia, besides soccer, were on hand: cards, “Ludo”, scrabble, etc. Everyone was having a good time. The conviviality continued into the night.
Some of us wanted to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Hollywood. The trip to Hollywood was initially scheduled to take place in the afternoon but had to be postponed until around midnight. However, when the time came, we felt getting tired. But come on, guys! Who would want to pass this rare opportunity to visit the world-renowned Hollywood – the galaxy of international movie stars and other glitterati? After all, we had just been treated to some wonderful barbeque from the expert, and our host, Momodou B. Krubally (MB). His barbequing skills were top-notch.
Soon after, we jumped into our cars and drove to Hollywood. We had a good time strolling around and taking pictures. We saw many people lining up the entrances of several nightclubs in the area. We were, however, shocked to realize that Hollywood was just a tiny area, stretched out about a few blocks. Nevertheless, the place was beautiful, bright and entertaining. It was good to finally see and experience the aura of Hollywood.
The next day, the “JOTTIE” continues at MB’s private hideout (his car garage is setup as a living room with carpets, television, sound system, a couch, chairs, etc). Here, we spent most part of the day while awaiting the special event of the trip – the fundraising dinner. At around five o’clock, we started getting ready for the night. At the dinner, it was beautiful to see people dressed up in their elegant African dresses in celebration of The Gambia’s Independence. We were entertained to music and drumming; those who loved dancing had an opportunity to do a lot of it. It was an entertaining night. Hopefully, next time, they will serve local Gambian dishes instead of foreign foods. Still, the food was delicious. The event ended at one o’clock in the morning.
It is Sunday, and time to call it a day. We had planned to leave Los Angeles in the morning after breakfast, but for the ladies, the visit would not officially end until they went on their shopping sprees. They had heard about the LA market.
The perfect opportunity came when Salimatou Krubally had to go out and pickup some items. And all the ladies joined her along. What was expected to be a short outing, ended up lasting five hours. In the meantime, the guys kept themselves entertained at the usual hideout. And shortly after the ladies returned home, we gathered together and prayed for one another. The departure was rather emotional. But it was a weekend of fun and Gambian solidarity.
Changing Environments, Strengthening Ties
It is with hesitation that we share this story with you. We recognize the various interpretations that can be drawn from it. Some may interpret it as negative because it involves traveling hundreds of miles to attend a fundraising party. On the other hand, we hope that you will see it for what it truly is – an opportunity to strengthen the bond between members of the two sister associations while at the same time taking a much needed break from our daily struggles.
The solidarity between members of the Gambian Association of Phoenix, Arizona (GAPA) and their United Gambian Association of Southern California counterparts during the Independence celebrations was remarkable. This is a good way to help build and enhance a support system for the members of these two associations and their families.
It also provides an opportunity to strengthen the bonds between members of the two sister associations while at the same time taking a much needed break from the daily struggles of work life. It is important that we find the balance between work and leisure. As the saying goes, “all work no play makes Jack a dull boy;" and all play no work makes Jack a dull boy, too. A short time away from our routine gives us an opportunity to see things from a different perspective. We are provided with yet another occasion to build on the relationships started years ago in our respective communities – back home. Families meet and really get to know each other. It may even bring us that aha moment we have been searching for.
A Mini Basse Reunion
At the Los Angeles gathering, Basserians Amadou Basiru Jallow and Bakary Jallow with their respective families, Abdoulie Jallow, Tijan Jallow, Tida and Mariama Bayoh, Momodou B. Krubally and Salimatou Krubally had the rare opportunity to mingle and get to know one another. It was a mini Basse reunion.
Many of us who grew up together have not seen each other for a very long time now. Childhood friends, because of distance and time, have now become strangers to one another. Our spouses and families have yet to meet; we are losing the great family foundation our parents started.
How about a Basse Reunion? Getting together, sharing ideas and simply talking can open up opportunities for all of us. It could even help save some who have somewhat strayed from the Gambian or Basse community.
Basserians today hold key positions both at home and abroad. And having people share their stories and experiences will not only help motivate and guide the young, it will also create a lifetime mentor program that many of us could have benefitted from growing up. Imagine what your life would have been if you had someone to mentor you along the way. Our new graduates need established people to help them land that first job and to guide them through the challenges of life.
We are blessed to have folks with different backgrounds. We have journalists, entrepreneurs, accountants, IT specialists, lawyers and many other professionals among us. Wouldn’t it be great to celebrate these folks and get to meet them in person?
We all recently read about how the Basse Association, through its hardworking fundraising officer Alh. Saibo Drammeh, helped secure a truck load of medical supply for the Basse Health Center (https://mybasse.webnode.com/news/basse-diaspora-giving-back-and-big-/). Wouldn’t it be great to share a cup of tea with the likes of Alh. Saibo Drammeh to see what drives and motivates them to give back? Wouldn’t it be great to know how and what the rest of our Basse folks are doing out there?
Don’t you think it is time for a Basse Association reunion? Let us know your take on the need to have a Basse Association Reunion. Please make suggestions on the venue, time and program of activities for this reunion. Visit us at https://mybasse.webnode.com/forum/ to share your thoughts and ideas on how to make this very important event possible.
***Bakary Jallow, Amadou Basiru Jallow and Momodou Krubally are members of the My Basse Editorial Board. Krubally is also the Secretary General of the Basse Association, Inc.