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With Aisha Jallow

Many years ago, I saw a sign with a message I found amusing. It said: ”I can resist anything but a temptation.” It was an interesting game with words and can be connected to a lot of different kinds of temptations. A piece of chocolate left ? Don’t let it go to waste, munch it and feel good even though you shouldn’t have eaten it. Some leftovers of your favourite dish in the fridge ? Eat it fast and blame someone else! Two quite innocent examples, but I can give some other ones. Low cash flow and suddenly you get an opportunity to earn some money ”under the table” ? Yeah, why not take it? So many others do! Why should YOU be bothered when so many others do the same?

Why not just say that you ”found” the money, if anyone should ask? If the First Wife suddenly can ”find” x number of millions in her account, then why should you bother? If people with high positions in the Gambian society suddenly get a new car by some ”un-known” benefactor, then the bike you stole ……eh, ”found” doesn’t matter in the long run.
Why be bothered by petty details, when we should look at the bigger picture?
So what is the bigger picture, then?

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What? Do you expect me to tell you that? Don’t you have any opinion of your own? Do you really think that I should use my valuable time with telling you what matters that count in life? Can’t you see how busy I am? Can’t you see how important I am? Don’t you know who I am? Who are you to question me? ME?

Before you blow some fuses I must tell you that I am joking. I was only acting as a Gambian with authority for a while, an authority we are not supposed to question.
It seems more or less like a tradition to mis-use one’s position and the power that comes with it. There is a saying: ”My servant also has a servant.” That means that no matter your position in life, you are always able to find someone to use for your own wellbeing. Some ”servants” get paid for their services, like janitors, waiters and cleaning ladies. Other ”servants” have to do it for free, for the benefit of being your spouse or your daughter.
Being respectful towards each other , in a couple, doesn’t mean that you can expect your wife to tip-toe around you, fulfilling all your needs, and you reward her with a thank you. Showing love and respect includes caring for each other’s needs. Wives also have needs, they get tired after a long day working in the home. Telling her that you will take care of the kids for a while, or wash the dishes for her is a true token of love.

Don’t take your spouse for granted, because one day you might find yourself alone. He/she has left you and finally you understand that there has been something wrong in your relationship. When you look back and search your mind and your conscience you might realize the big or small signals your spouse has given you for some time.

Breaking up from a relationship is never easy, it requires a lot of consideration before the decision is made. There will always be a lot of negative consequences that follow a breakup, but they can be necessary. People will be questioning you and your ex spouse. You will be forced to give a lot of answers that you are not prepared for. What kind of answers will you give? Will there be a blame game, where you are right and your ex is wrong? Is that fair? Search your mind and your conscience before you open your mouth, words can be hard to take back. They will be like water that you spill out; you can never take it back and the ground will be dirty.

We are in the Holy month of Ramadan, a month where we should pray for forgiveness for our sins. While we fast and pray we should improve our relation with God, but we also have a great opportunity to repair our human relations. If you are a man, and you see that your wife is busy cleaning the house and cooking the food for you and the family – offer her some help. Don’t ask her, because many women take pride in managing all the house work on their own. Instead use your eyes and your mind, look what she is doing and jump in to help her. It doesn’t take an engineer exam to understand how to sweep the floor or peel potatoes. At first your wife will be surprised or even annoyed, but rest assured that when she has got used to your help she will appreciate it. Maybe she won’t praise you directly, but she will make her lady friends envious when she tells them what a kind husband you are. Ask your wife to relax for a while, give her some kind attention and you will be sure to get the right kind of attention when the sun has gone down.

Let us look at some other kind of relation, the one between us and our government. That relation must also be maintained and never taken for granted. As well as two spouses should give each other attention so they will feel cared for, there must be a certain kind of attention between us and our government. If you have some kind of high position in the society, and you read this and get upset with me – sorry for that. Or not sorry for that, because you have chosen to be where you are in the society. A high position should not only come with a high salary, a lot of benefits and Good attention. As well as a husband and a father has his role to play, you have yours. A husband and father must take responsibility for his wife and his family. He must work hard and make plans ahead to improve his family’s living conditions.

This is how you must think, you have a large ”family” to care for and lot of responsibilities. You must work hard and plan for our future, that is what you are paid for. The money you see rolling in through foreign aid in these times of Corona, for example, are not yours. They are for the Gambian people of which you are only one person and you are employed as their servant – not their master.

”Opportunity makes the thief ”, so is the saying and it can be very hard to resist a temptation. Ask God for guidance, no matter who you are and what position you have in life. It is not only money that can be stolen, not only worldly goods, we can also steal time. Does that sound strange for you? No, I don’t think so because you live in the Gambia and we don’t respect each other when it comes to time.

Honesty pays in the long run, no matter if it is in a relation between a husband and wife, in business or in politics. Relations can end when some part is dissatisfied and then you have a lot of explanations to do. Next year, 2021, it is election time – finally! It is ”pay back” time, as all of us who are dissatisfied with the current regime will make our opinions public. The current government has failed more than they have succeeded and that can be hard for them to explain. Don’t allow them to get away with it! Keep an eye on their actions and make them accountable. Take your responsibility as a citizen, don’t use anyone and don’t get used!

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