Lessons from Gambia – I

I attended the African Internet Summit 2012 in Banjul Gambia from 4th to 18th May 2012. I already blogged about the summit, but I do have some noteworthy lessons from Gambia. Here goes  ….

On Saturday 19th May 2012, I took a day off to relax in preparation for my Journey back home. That afternoon, I honored an invitation from a “young upward and mobile” (Yummy) Gambian friend, who works at the equally upward mobile operator – QCell to attend a book Launch. What we call “Mo gbo mo ya” in Naija parlance. I am glad I honored the invitation, as it provided me with a set of take-away lessons from Gambia.

Mr Momodou Sabally made history, and perhaps should make it to the Guinness Book of Records as the first person to Launch his own books. On Saturday 19th May 2012, he Launched two books titled “The Way to Happiness – Inspirational Essays” and “Love Notes – Inspiring Poem”.

Mr Sabally had to do this because he was disappointed thrice. People who had confirmed their readiness to Launch the book, suddenly developing cold feet, and leaving him in the cold. In the end, he decided he would do it himself. Putting the book in the hands of Gambians was just too important to him. In his speech, he alluded to the “Never Say Die” spirit that propelled him to proceed with doing it himself, in the face of the multiple disappointments.

I listened to his speech, especially the admonition that anyone should write. That no one is too old or too busy to write. He posited the people need to complement the efforts of the Government. His admission that the Government is doing a lot, and his praise for the Head of State of Gambia, whom he sent advance copies of the book to, and who personally responded to acknowledge and indeed must have read the books. The Author was confident, not loud, but inspirational all the way. He has traveled the world (evident in the Inspirational Essays) but chose to work in the Gambian Civil Service. No wonder the entire people in the hall including yours truly applauded his speech.

Before the Launch, the MC made the guests in the hall to pledge, in support of the book. Amazingly, almost everyone did. (with the exception of yours truly). I was impressed that most of those who pledged, bought copies for libraries in their Primary or Secondary schools. Now, that is the right way to plough back. I think I will imbibe this habit henceforth and buy books for my Almae Matres … All of them.

Another lesson, is that the MC requested all those who pledged to kindly register their pledges before leaving, to help the organizers keep track and know where and from whom to pick up the checks. Now, that is a system that works, based on HONESTY.

Because I was packing and due to baggage restrictions, I only bought a copy of each book, in cash. I did not forget to have the author autograph them, and of course, pose with me for a quick pix. Now, I do have another friend in the Gambia.

Thank you very much Momodou. Those were wonderful books. I appreciate your effort at shaping a new Gambia. God Bless you and yours!! Maybe someday, I can persuade Adunni or get her better qualified daddy reviewer to please review them on this blog 🙂

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