Basse Bridge named after man, family members speak

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By Dawda Baldeh

Family members of Samba Juma a man who provided free river transportation for people especially school children and pregnant women for many years spoke about the role he played in the community.

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Samba Juma is a native of Kerewan Badala in the Upper River Region (URR). He came from Guinea Conakary and stay at a village called Sabu Sereng in Gambia. He later moved to Basse were he worked for a company that was stationed at the riverside as a security guard were he was paid a salary of D7.5 per month until he died in 1984.

Speaking to The Fatu Network, Mawdo Jallow the alkalo of Kerewan Badala who is Samba’s grandson described him as hardworking, generous and dedicated man who played a significant role in the community serving humanity.

Mawdo Jallow said Samba’s kind deeds saved many lives at the river. He also highlighted the challenges that Samba went through adding that Samba was very poor and he has no one to help him.

“Samba was a very good man he helped anyone who want to cross the river,” Mawdo Jallow said. “The number of people who Samba has help cannot be listed. He said President Barrow is among the people who benefited from Samba’s kind deeds for many years.”

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Samba Juma was a Canoe driver who transported people from Basse to Kerewan Badala and from Kerewan Badala back to Basse throughout his life. The late Samba Juma has been described as a generous man.

The inauguration of the Basse bridge which is name after Samba Juma has brought joy to his entire family. The family members said the bridge will serve as a memorial place for their late father in recognition of his work at the river.

The village alkalo expressed his profound gratitude to President Adama Barrow for what he described as development to their doorsteps. He said many years have passed and the village was never remembered in terms of development but President Barrow has made them proud.

“We are really happy for President Barrow. He make us proud by naming the bridge after our father. This will go a long way in history. No words can describe how glad the entire family is. We thank Allah and thank President Barrow,” he said.

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“President Barrow May not recognize us but he came here several times to fetch firewood and each time he came, Samba Juma will always help him to cross the river,” he explained.

However, the village alkalo pleaded for support from anyone who can come to their aid. “We are very poor and we cannot afford to dig boreholes talk less of electricity.”

Mariama Camara the village alkalo’s wife also told The Fatu Network that Samba’s history cannot be narrated in a day as he was a hardworking man.

Ms Camara also urged the government to create employment opportunities for their youth as they only depend on the money they get from the canoes for their daily meals.

“We live in a hut house when Samba’s was alive but he only come to the house when he has some money for the family,” alkalo Jallow explained.

Mbanding Jawneh a native of Nyakoi Kerewan also said Samba Juma has worked with his father for many years and described him as a honest and hardworking man.

Alieu Sowe a canoe driver who said he has never seen Samba but heard his history from credible people in the society.

Alieu said from the sources he get, Samba was a generous man. “From what I heard about Samba I believe his name deserve to be at the bridge. He save many lives including those who are mounting high positions in government,” he said.

However, From all the sources we spoked to, Samba Juma live his entire life at the river without owing a single house.


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