He is the only boy in our group and he became the only male member among the girls because none of them were good enough at English to communicate with us. Gradually, Alfusainey has changed from a mere interpreter to a full member of the club of friends. As is usual for a Gambian boy of his age (mid-twenties) he is single, because the ladies (and especially their parents) expect the boy/man to have built up an existence which justifies getting married. Some possessions and a steady job with a good income are important assets on the African marital market.
For Alfusainey – Alf for short – wealso paid his secondary school fees and some computer courses. Alf has proved to be worthy of the investment we put in; he passed his secondary school exams with flying colours and he received a testimonial to be proud of. It praises him for his attendance rate, attitude, interaction with his fellow-students and the teachers, his politeness and his diligence. After his secondary school, Alf started an electro-technical training at (again) GTTI, which he finished with good marks and neatly within the set time limit.
At the moment, he works at ‘Gamsolar’, a Dutch-Gambian company in solar panels, with which we had come into contact during the construction of our school in the village of Busura (see part c of “supported schools” on this site). His boss is very satisfied with Alf and at that he thinks it is great because for once he did not have to bring in well-educated boys from Senegal to complete his staff, but a local boy.
During a conversation with Alf, it appeared that during the fifteen years we have known him, we gave him more than ‘actual’ schooling; he was indirectly given a ‘white-people-training’ as well. Because of his regular contact with us, he is aware of how white people think and that is why he is frequently sent to the company’s Toobab customers. Alf knows all too well that Toobabs do not appreciate it at all if you start begging for a tip or asking for things you see at the customer’s home. Although we have never been aware of this aspect, it appears to be an advantage for his work: a nice extra!
During the rainy season of 2009, Alf’s compound completely collapsed because rats had dug a tunnel system underneath the foundation. As a temporary solution, they were ‘camping’ in a hastily constructed shack made of corrugate. Thanks to a generous donation we were able to buy him and his family the necessary materials for the reconstruction of their compound. Alf andhis ‘fellow-compounders’ have worked hard to create something nice and the result is not half bad!
Alf realizes completely that he was very lucky indeed when he was called to the group as an interpreter in 1995, for that has definitely paid off! The opportunity that was offered him at the time was sheer chance, but what he accomplished in his life after that is mainly attributable to his perseverence, motivation, diligence, politeness, friendliness and honesty. In this way, he can be an outstanding example for other Gambians who are fortunate enough to find European sponsors, too!
Thanks to his computer courses, Alf can now stay into contact with us – and the rest of the world – via the computer. Should you wish to mail him yourself, we will be happy to forward your digital message to him (see “Contact” on this site).