By: Kalipha Jabbi alias Karl D Poet
I have not always been friendly with numerics which makes it an irony to tell people that I was a pure science student. Yes I was a pure scientist in my senior school days but cannot remember if I had secured credit in any of the science subjects. One hardly sees me with books related to my field but novels and anthologies. I did that nemesis call Further Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology. And if it were not my occasional “cockiness”, I would have done Physics too. I don’t know who invented this word in Armitage but once your behaviour doesn’t commensurate what ought to be done, you will be considered a cocky person in Armitage. This term was synonymous to some of us because I was always at the swords of the seniors but one of the days that I will always live to remember was the day I was dragged by some muscular seniors for failing to take part in carrying loaves of bread from town to the camp. I used to be very gentle and calm until I had friends who influenced me to be what we referred to in Armitage as perpetual culprits. As someone who did all his lower and upper education in Macchaty and having my village just a saliva thrown at the northern side of the river, swimming and scaling the fence were my trademarks. I escaped indefinite expulsions on two occasions but never learned my lessons. Anytime Karl is being mentioned, I would know that was my jolly day but if I hear “Kalipha Jabbi ”, I would be like… I don’t know what I have done again. It could either be; I missed a prayer or two, didn’t water my flowers, didn’t go to the garden, didn’t go to the field for sporting activities or even missed the program at the hall. Imagine, Karl who couldn’t dance, sing or even move my legs receiving punishments for not attending a night program.
But I received more punishment for not going for ABC than any of the above. I know some of you’re confused but not those from Armitage. ABC simply means Armitage Bread Career Donkey Effort Force….so we used to carry bread like donkeys and some naughty kids in the streets of Janjang Bureh would be calling us ABC, ABC ABC. I never like ABC but every cloud has a silver lining and that was true to ABC too. Anytime I was hungry and know I would not get anything to eat, I would volunteer to go for ABC so I could have the opportunity to steal bread and have my ponseh with empty water. I mean without sugar. If you wonder how we were able to do that, you have not heard from my friend Mustapha Darboe wo once ate garri without sugar. He only knew that garri without sugar was difficult to swallow after finishing it. Funnily, he came to me after swallowing a half kilo of garri and retorted in Mandika “garri sunguru tang hanni buwo leh diyata tii”. That was in Armitage but anything that has to do with numbers is not my bread with butter.
I don’t how geographers come to the conclusion that 365 days make a year because January 2020 is just like yesterday. Yes I can vividly remember all the happenings on that fateful day and to think that 2022 is tomorrow appears like a fairytale. Whether it’s my apparent failure in calculations or it’s the false reality of life, I have also accepted what the universe accepted. We are saying adieu to 2021.
It has not been a vintage year at all levels but we must thank Allah for giving us what we have and pray we gain what we weren’t able to attain. There are so many reasons for me to celebrate this year but the biggest highlight is having the opportunity to serve university students. Whether it’s a success or not the key players are there to arbitrate that. It’s during this function that we meet and the rest become history. Make your judgement but the rest is still history.
The biggest challenge in this year was how to defy the odds and contest for SU but that remains a delicate matter for an open discussion. The pull factors and push factors were stronger and at the end of the day, it was me who matters and I chose me. That was at a personal level.
My dream was to see a Gambia of Baba Ousainou Darboe. I wanted to see a Gambia led by Darboe and when Mama Jalli produced that hit track, I was like this year “fong sa jey”. I had to make myself stronger to go to the village for elections because Baba couldn’t have lost an election with a margin of one vote and that vote could have been my vote. Ndeysan, guilt would have swallowed me.
Despite that, the overwhelming majority of Gambians said, no they want a different leader. A president who threw One hundred and sixteen million Dalasis under the carpet and rendered our hopes for a new constitution hopeless. Angalleh koddo dey. That was not enough. All the promises he made were just déjà vu. No teacher service commission, no security sector reform, Janneh Commission becomes a selective justice, Seedy Njie becomes a national hero, implicitly tells Jammeh all the atrocities you did were fine with us and let’s collaborate. Privatized our only state college. Never has the interest of the university and presides over the most corrupt civil service in recent times.
If you’re a Barrow fan, that’s not a problem. But it’s bizarre to support him because you don’t want my Baba to be a president. Don’t tell me he’s the problem because you don’t have a solution. It was either Baba or Halifah but we chose Barrow because we said Halifah couldn’t win. Only the pessimists lost and Halifa, even though I don’t belong to his ideology, is not a pessimist. I am ending the year with my step father telling me that a bag of sugar is D2000 in my village. Symbolic Gambia under Barrow.
Those were not the only highlights of 2021 but a synopsis of how low and high we were achievers. We all have dreams that we could not fulfil in 2021 but it’s just morning and tonight we will sleep again. Go to bed with another dream and work towards it.
There’s no nothing consistent in life apart from change. In 2020, I became a president and 2021, I became president emeritus. The year has not been so prolific but I am ending it as UTG’s most prolific writer. Believe God and strive for it.
It’s not our new year but blissful new year.