Tribute to Ambassador Fadera: ‘My Dearest Husband’

The Late Dawda Fadera


It is 20th February, exactly one year since you left me and our young family. as I try to recount the embodiment of your life. I’m sure, your gentle soul will continue to rest in peace.

Firstly, allowed me to recount the event of the night of 20th February 2022 the night that I will never forget.  The immense pain, the insurmountable fear, the all-consuming grief, the indescribable confusion, and mostly the heaviness that came with the realization that you were truly gone forever and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

My Dearest Darling, the strong woman you know & profoundly called Mama has torn apart. I was not as strong as I thought I was since you have gone, I sit and cry all night long from dusk to dawn. The depths of grief I’ve gone through cannot be quantified. Missing you terribly, and feeling more than ever the suffering and sorrow you endured for so long. Wishing I could just sat and talked with you more about the great adventure that was our life together.

One year on since you left the astonishing and heart-warming experiences of renewal I’ve been going through as I redesign my life for the reality that you’re gone. And you know how the web of our many relationships — family, neighbors, friends far and near — has held me and lifted me all the way.

One year on, I’ve learned a lot in the months that have followed, I’ve learned that I miss the little things the most.   the way you took such pride in our kids, our evening conversation over Attaya.  I’ve learned that I don’t want to be without you.  I’ve learned it’s exhausting being a single parent, especially to more than one child.  I’ve also learned that with grief comes longing.  The longing for everything to be okay.  The longing for everything to be as it once was, and the longing for what could have been.  I grieve for what was, but I also grieve for what should have been.  I cry for the plans that we made, both the small and the big.  I also grieve the fact that I dreamed of growing old with you, looking back on our lives with joy and thankfulness and now I will have to do that without you.  I have learned that my life will never be the same and that I will never understand why.

I have learned that in the face of despair, our community really comes together.  There are still great people in this world.  I have learned that both of our families are some of the most dependable people I know, I’d be lost without them.  I have learned that we have some of the greatest friends that a person could have, and that grief creates friendships that might not otherwise exist.

What I want to tell you is that, as time passes, the dominant emotion I feel is less about loss and more about gratitude.

Overwhelming gratitude for all your gifts to me during the thirty plus years we were fortunate to share. For how the richness of your heart, your mind, your knowledge, your life experiences and your imagination filled me with profound joy, no matter what hard times and heartbreak we may have had to go through.

My D, while I’m grieving that your you are not with us one year on, let me mark the day by telling you some of the many things for which I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


Thank you, first of all, for all the wonderful moments we share together.

In the last thirty years you were my only my best friend. you introduced me to the world, introduced me to wealth of your network & connection. We had truly joyful years of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership that I could imagine .you  gave me the experience of being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved – and I will carry that with me always. Most importantly, you gave me the most amazing childrens in the world.

You were my rock when I got upset, you stayed calm when I am worried. you would always tell me it will be ok when I wasn’t sure what to do, and you always figured it out. You were completely dedicated to your children in every way. I am grateful for every minute we had.

Thank you for your service to the nation

In the civil service you rose through ranks and manned key positions. Some would affectionately called you PS, during your time in PMO, some would called you SG, during your time as Head of civil service, some would called you ambassador during your time in foreign service. With all this title and accolades never in my life did I saw you look down on anyone. You treat everyone equal. You treat all cases within the convoluted civil service with utmost urgency and attention it deserves. You dedicate all your life for the betterment of civil service. You would spend countless number of nights, weekends to the service of the Gambia.  Your ability to connect to people was astonishing. There were no strangers for you. There is no official hours for you as far as civil service is concerned. You reached out to everyone you encountered, eager to hear their stories and to create a bond. You were interested in what they had to say and always ready to share some of yourself with them. Age, education, race, ethnicity, nationality, rank, social status, gender— none of these mattered to you.  I get to believe through you the principle that all men are created equal. You would eat with people from all walk of life shoulder to shoulder from watchman to the cleaner. Your doors were always open. You had friends ranging from age 3 to age 100. You connected to highly educated and accomplished peers. During your tenure in Washington DC as ambassador you spearhead a drive to bring together Gambians all over united states. You restore the lost confidence people have on government officials. You travelled all across the United States to meet and connect Gambians from all walks of life. You are always considerate and reaching out to connect, you love sharing the little you have with others be it family, neighbor coworkers.

Thank you also for the intense and magical travel experiences we shared.

Never mere tourism or vacation trips. Each with a special venture and purpose that imbued it with significance. With each characterize by a deep sense of connection to the places we visit, to the cultures, and to the individuals we met. Each an endless source of insights, learning and sheer joy. From Europe, to Africa, to Asia including a pilgrimage and umrah to Mecca on several occasion and of course travel all over the United States. and above all our repeated visits to our Home village every weekend during your days in the civil service to mingle & reconnect with your family & relatives.

Thank you for the intellectual riches you brought into my life and your delight in receiving those I contributed to you.

You were classically educated, loved books, thinking, learning, analyzing, theorizing, arguing, & debating complex issues and ideas. you install all these ideals in me by engaging in thought provoking conversation with me. I catch up & we were doing a lot of creative projects together. You critique other people intellect project including me— meticulously and mercilessly, as a token of genuine respect and desire to help each other shine.

You were always original in your thinking, quick to see the flaws in other people thought, and graced with a divergent view on reality that forced others to think. The breadth of your knowledge and interests was enormous. You could jump with ease from one idea to another. And this intense power of thought excelled through in every image you made as well — nothing was a mere representation of what is “out there” but, instead, you made images of what was in your mind.

Beyond enjoying your intellect, it was those special qualities of your mind for which I’m grateful. As well as your almost child-like ability to see everything with delight, imagination, and a heightened sensibility.

And then there was your sense of humor and your spirit of fun. All who knew you can testify to this.

For Some of us who were privilege to get close to you & get to know you from a close length can attest that you possess a great sense of humor. You always turn the world around you upside down in order to shift the perspective with a huge sense of joy & humor. You always delivered your joke  with absolutely deadpan, leaving even people who had known you for years sometimes unsure whether you were being serious or joking. You loved to tease those closest to you, and whenever you found a new behavior of mine to make fun of, or came up with a funny new nickname for me. You liked being “funny grandpa” to little kids, to your friends most of whom you called sheik, sheikul-masjid, sheikul-haram, sheikh of the Centre of the masjid. How could I not say thank you for all those years you made me smile and laugh?

Last, and above all, I thank you for that great warm heart of yours, and for the wonderful smile and big hugs that went with it.

Yours was a heart that was large enough to create a home for mine, and had ample room to spare for everyone else who came in peace into your life. Love was central to you and above all, your love for me, your immediate family, friends coworkers, It was steadfast and unconditional. There were no barriers, no boundaries, no self-protective moves, no reservations. When you were admitted in hospital you insisted on establishing a personal relationship of some kind with  staffs, nurses, doctors & orderlies.

And so, my D all I can do, is to thank you with all my heart for the many riches you gave me over the course of that miraculous time we had together.



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