By: Awa Conteh
The narrative of Mr. Momodou Lamin Drammeh is a shining example of how dreams can weave resilience into some strands of passion and talent. His journey from the bright streets of The Gambia to the global stage is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Mr. Drammeh’s passion for athletics sparked a flame that would illuminate his path to greatness.
After completing high school, he embarked on an extraordinary adventure. He crossed oceans to pursue higher education in the United States through the Olympic Solidarity scholarship – a gateway to dreams for promising athletes from third-world countries.
Upon American soil, Mr. Drammeh didn’t just walk; he sprinted toward excellence. His prowess on the athletic field earned him a coveted spot in the Gambian national team for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, making him one of the privileged few to carry his nation’s hopes on the global stage. However, his journey was not confined to the track; it soared to academic heights.
Mr Drammeh’s determination was nurtured by the bitter taste of perceived failure and an unyielding desire to script his success story. Unlike his peers who reveled in the luxuries of an untroubled background, his path was shadowed by adversity. Yet, precisely, this backdrop fuelled his relentless pursuit of triumph.
As the only son among eight siblings, he carried the weight of expectations, a torch passed on by his mother, who saw the potential for greatness in him. It wasn’t an easy journey, and success, when it finally graced his endeavors, bore the mark of self-reliance with only a whisper of divine intervention. Each step forward was proof of his resilience, a refusal to succumb to the limitations of his past.
“My determination stems from the perception of failure and wanting to be part of success stories. My background did not let me enjoy what most of my peers did, and that kept me going the moment I tasted success without any help aside from divine intervention”, he told TAT.
Back at Saint Augustine’s High School, where he soared as a top athlete, it was amidst the fervor of a project on African-American Week, a celebration of the black community in America, that a revelation unfolded. The echoes of Martin Luther King’s connection to Morehouse College resonated deeply, and he saw Morehouse bore a striking resemblance to his beloved Alma Mater, Saint Augustine’s.
When the golden opportunity of a US athletic scholarship materialized, he seized it alongside a fellow compatriot, now Dr. Lamin E. Drammeh. Their journey across the Atlantic marked the pursuit of education. It forged a bond that transcended friendship, evolving into a familial connection to date.
However, when the crossroads of destiny presented themselves, he chose to forfeit the Olympic athletic scholarship to pursue academics. Enrolling at Morehouse College, he became a seven-time All-American athlete adorned with honors. He carved a path forward, fuelled by a desire to blend business with a cultural connection to The Gambian heritage and the African-American narrative. As a seven-time All-American, he not only embraced the challenges but left an indelible mark on the institution and his dream to maintain a sense of identity in his pursuit of excellence, setting a standard that resonates with every young Gambian dreaming beyond borders.
The pursuit of knowledge paralleled his athletic endeavors, and in 2001, he graduated, not just with a degree but with a legacy of achievement etched in the annals of his college’s history.
Post-graduation, Mr. Drammeh’s path then meandered into the public service. As a contract/compliance officer with the Department of Human Resources in Georgia, he served as a regional contract specialist. He stood among the select few hired by the Department of Human Resources for part-time holiday work. What began as a seasonal commitment evolved into a lasting partnership, a testament to his unwavering dedication and commendable performance that he retained while navigating the challenging landscape of college.
Simultaneously, he undertook a parallel journey in the hospitality industry, donning the hat of a Valet Parking attendant. This role resonated with his passion. Balancing dual part-time jobs, he maneuvered through the intricate choreography of academia and employment while embracing the responsibilities of being a devoted husband to his Gambian wife.
As graduation approached, the department he had faithfully served had an opening, and he found himself stepping into a role that mirrored his journey—a transition from student to a valued member of the workforce. This chapter in his life showcased not only his adaptability but also his commitment to making a difference, and these diverse experiences painted the canvas of his formative years, laying the foundation for a future where he would navigate professional landscapes with the same determination and resilience that defined his college days.
However, Mr Drammeh’s journey continued further. As expected of his entrepreneurial spirit, he founded Quest Valet Parking Services, LLC. In 2008, a venture that he nurtured from the ground up. This endeavor provided employment opportunities for Americans, Gambians, and other African citizens living in America and exemplified the power of determination and hard work.
In 2021, Momodou chose to bring his wealth of experience back to The Gambia. His homecoming, however, was not a conclusion but a new chapter. In a surprising and fitting twist, he was appointed CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in 2023. This position underlines his acumen in both the American and Gambian business landscapes.
Mr Drammeh, through the chamber, is working on collaborations between The Gambia and America. He believes there are great benefits for The Gambia, and the plan is to involve local people to build a partnership for more investment and trade. In the next six months, he and his team, alongside other partners, are eager to implement their plans to have American investors get involved and make plans to keep these partnerships solid and lasting in the next six months.
“The Gambia has always been far yet close to me. Wherever I was, I felt like home was breathing over me and that nothing I achieved away from home would be meaningful without bringing it to The Gambia. I have always wanted to be part of the growth of The Gambia”, he revealed.
Mr. Momodou Lamin Drammeh’s story is not just a personal triumph; it is an anthem of hope, a tribute to the potential that lies within every Gambian heart. From the dusty fields of The Gambia to the boardrooms of international commerce, he has not only exemplified the indomitable Gambian spirit but has become an inspiration for generations to come.