Compiled and analyzed by Essa Bokarr Sey.

Yesterday when I decided to go see my friend and PACO Yusupha Mbye, I never expected the good news I  found there. When I arrived Yusupha himself came out to receive me using his wheel chair with energy and bravery. Yusupha was well dressed! Anytime  you see him it is as if he is into modeling! Taste, style and the  powerful perfume combined with it makes him a star from one of the best  dressing rooms! One definitely would  feel glamour not his condition or  the wheel chair at first sight! Anyone who faces Yusupha would like him. He is adorable as well, so does his appearance match contents of his mind and character. An intelligent young man who has a brain! Yusupha would make a good worker in any office where  services are  calling for thinking, filing, matching and giving ideas that can be transformed into production. I was also met by his mother and the brother.

Yusupha and I stayed at the veranda to feel the air circulating around. It was one of the best conversations I have ever had from last year when I returned to The Gambia to now.
Yusupha never seizes to amaze me!

His intelligence cannot be measured by words and thought. During our conversation  he provoked my thoughts with that very intelligence!  The young man understands what goes around him  so much! He listens to the  news, reads everything and absorbs details within a shrewd mind.

In fact his peers consult him as and when the need arises he is a respected thinker and talker. No exaggeration Yusupha is  ONE SMART COOKIE!  The way we say it in the US.

At this juncture brace up and feel like you were with me. Here we go! At home  Yusupha Mbye was getting ready to go attend a three weeks training program on filming.  I was so pleased to hear the good news that  I had to wait for the departure. During our conversation he received  a call. It is when  I heard him talk about hiring a taxi with someone on the other line.  I could not tolerate  anything that would make my PACO feel stressed out because he wanted to move and there was no car for him!  I suddenly intervened and told him not  to ever think of hiring a taxi while I was around. He took leave of the caller  on the line, then turned towards me. With a smile and appreciation he said these words. I quote:  “THANK YOU KING!”. We have been friends over the years so we have code names for each other. His  nick name is PACO mine is KING at least within our sphere of friendship. He created the names not me!  A big teaser he is!   I was Yusupha’s driver to the destination. It is  a place in a neighborhood opposite the water tank on the road to Coco Ocean hotel. We were met by a young lady called Fatmatta Tambajang who said she is representing an organization called Gambia Participates.

Oh lord! Yusupha made me see one of my seniors at Armitage Alhaji Sonko from Essau. Sonko is also part of the victims benefitting from this package. He narrated his story to me within minutes because him too did not want to miss the opportunity to find ways of amplifying his ordeal for obvious reasons. Alhaji said he was victimized by Pa Harry Jammeh and fired from the position of deputy Sheriff (if my memory serves me right ).  Certainly Inshaa Allah  I will go back to the place to register more on stories like that one or anything else they believe I should hear, read or investigate.

Now let’s continue on the story of my PACO. Yusupha Jr Yusupha Mbye’s cousin brother was the one helping him go in the car and get down.  On the other hand I was also eager to help! Then my role automatically became that of   loading and unloading  the wheel chair. I have been doing that for Baba Sey my son for years therefore I am qualified to occupy that role.

Yusupha and I  get along very well, once you start engaging the young man you would not stop. Ask Saul Mbenga!

While driving with Yusu 1 and Yusu 2, It was ambiance and laughter through out the ride. Yusupha is one of the most humorous young men you can ever see. He teases a lot!  So do I tease him back. I told him not to look at any young lady while in the car. HE LAUGHED! He is a very big ‘Ndongoe!’  He told me there is a place  place where he meets his peers at Kanifing estate known as “KAMPEH” in The Gambia (for youngsters) the elderly call it “VOO”. I am invited there by Yusupha. I will of course bring him and his peers in Brufut Heights so that they can play games, brew ‘ataya’ and tease each other.

As we speak Yusupha is lodged at a hotel in  his own room  with little Yusupha who takes care of him every where and the all the time.

I met his other peers there they were so so pleased to see me. One of them was telling everyone else that ” This is uncle Essa Bokarr Sey our friend”

I had to control my innerself if not It was going be tears every where. These children are part of the best in our society. They are great. I  consider them to be missionaries who were challenged by a harsh part of our nation’s history thus transformed into role models.
Yusupha Mbye is without any iota of doubt a role model.  With all  the hardship this young man has been enduring from April 10th 2000 to now, he  always remains the one comforting  those who sympathize, empathize  with him. Using  these words,  I quote: ” Yallah baahna yeup Dinna baah” in Wolof. In English it means “Allah is great everything will be alright”..Yes Yusupha! Allah is definitley the one making you speak to all of us!


Who ever reads this story therefore  wishes to extend assistance to the young man in what ever shape or form, I would encourage you  reach out to Saul Mbenga through messenger or any means you trust and deem fit for the purpose. I would also seize  the opportunity to commend the TRRC for hiring one of them in the name of  Alieu. His role Yusupha told me is  victims coordinator.  Yusupha  is so happy for his friend. He told me unequivocally that no one beats Alieu when it comes to taking care  of people with special needs because  Alieu has been doing the same for him for years without ever asking to be renumerated. Yusupha laid emphasis on this by saying he knows the young man Alieu more than any Gambian. I also have had the chance of talking to Alieu before. Any asistance sent to Yusupha while I was in the USA he makes mention of Alieu at the time of delivery.   In fact he  told me they are on a tour inside the country as we speak.

Hiring or training April 10 victims or any other victim who was crushed or harmed by the killer machine of the former regime means doing what Allah likes to see amongst us.
Other organizations or private companies are being invited to extend the same helping hand to these young men. Listening to their stories is one thing but participating in what can enhance their lives to be able to sustain themselves,  get their immediate needs, get  quality education,  own houses,  get married and raise their own children would be the best one can offer them.

Even by helping one of them feel confident to face life with determination and support means  you  have done something great for humanity.

We can never escape this prison called CONSCIENCE! Let every one of us keep reaching out  to them with sincerity, honesty, empathy and deep seated concern.

NEVER AGAIN cannot bear fruits if we as a society do not help each other  nurse the wounds left in our hearts by brutality. See attached videos and photos to hear from Yusupha himself.. My paco is a star!!!

He will rise and shine Inshaa Allah.

Alhamdulillah Yaa Kabirr!


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