My Journey To Kiang The Ignored Land (Part.1)
Sometime in 2014, I visited my mum in Farafenni the capital city of Baddibou and the land of my ancestors. Nonetheless, it is the first place in NBR to have a referral Hospital and to be electrified with running water too. Farafenni commonly called Chakubantang is a unique city where both the Gambia Dalasi and CFA are used concurrently. Well, it bordered with Senegal via Poste end.
However, there was this beautiful day when my mum said she will send me to Kiang. Upon hearing the news, I was joyful to visit Kiang as the name sounds great. Little did I know where Kiang is located.
Early morning, I boarded a vehicle through Jarra Soma then Kiang. While in the car, I noticed something strange. As we moved kilometers away two men started to quarrel to the extent of exchanging blows. I was not surprised either as that is expected from a typical Kianka.
When I reach Kiang I asked for the house of Mba Nato my Mum’s friend this typical Kianka said to me “You are not from here deah” I asked why he said so, he replied that; ‘you dress like someone from Kombo. I laugh. He further added that I have to walk over a kilometer before reaching my final destination.
As I walked towards the forest I saw a big snake crossed to the other end of the road. Truly speaking I was terrified and said to myself why am I here? I sacrificed and summoned the courage to go ahead. Minutes later I saw two Women eventually I smiled because I have seen people to accompany me along the route.
As I approached them I greeted and asked them where they are heading to they responded that they are going to a nearby village. One of the women was pregnant while the other one with a child. I asked them where they are coming from. They responded that they are coming from the Hospital. As I cried in tears deeply seeing a heavily pregnant woman sweating and walking kilometers to access healthcare. So many questions came to my mind such a hearth burdening and warning.
However, the question that remains a mystery was; is Kiang not part of The Gambia? One could imagine how can a whole region be ignored for over 50 years since independence despite paying tax to the authorities on time.
The women further narrated that as they reach home from the long marathon they will proceed to the ‘Faros’ to harvest crops and fetch firewood for cooking. I cried again upon hearing the saltiest pain they go through on a daily bases, why only Kiang the region without electricity neither running water.
As we walked further the other child started to cry under the hot sun. I asked her mum what’s wrong with him, she responded that he is thirsty and the nearby place to access clean water is half a kilometer away. Seeing a child crying for water as if we are in a war zone. Is not only uncalled for but a violation of human right.
As we were about to separate, I asked for their phone numbers to strengthen the relationship and to check on the children too. Unfortunately, they were not in touch with the 21st Century. The other woman said, she is not thinking of a Mobile Phone. When I asked her why? She responded with tears that; she is poor and she rather used the money for the phone to purchase rice for the family.
Later when we separated as I walked towards my destination while my head was down thinking about the ordeals of the women. As I lift my head up I saw a big Baboon, what do you expect me to do? I ran faster than Usain Bolt to save my life. While I ran for a while I saw a group of children believed to be from School. Among all those children there was none of them with a proper School uniform neither a pair of shoe. To be continued…
By Saidina Alieu Jarjou