One thing that the Peace Corps has emphasized repeatedly is that volunteers should always stay out of politics. When there are political elections, we are instructed to stay away from polling areas. We are not supposed to have detailed conversations about our political beliefs or become involved with any group with politcal goals. And we are definitely not supposed to post our politcal beliefs on the internet. Although we must keep our political opinions separate from our work, it is utterly impossible no to be affected by beliefs and the resulting actions of Gambian politicians. Especially when those beliefs are encouraged by the President himself. So I am not going to share my opinion of Gambian politics. Instead, I'm just going to share an article that I recently read from a Gambian newspaper called the Daily Observer. This is from the January 18-20 edition. You can find this and more Gambian news at www.observer.gm.
"President Gives 7 Buses to 7 Schools
In yet another show of the importance he attaches to the education sector, President Yahya Jammeh has made a surpise donation of seven buses to seven schools in the Greater Banjul Area. The buses were presented to the students and their principles at the 1st anniversary of the HIV/AIDS Breakthrough Celebrations held at the July 22nd Square in Banjul, yesterday. The beneficiaries are Muslim SSS, Gambia SSS, Mindaw SSS in Farato, JC Faye SSS, Nusrat SSS, Saint Augustine's SSS and The Gambia Technical Training Institute. The American type buses will help ease the transport problems confronting student commuters to and from their various schools. The president, in addition, promised to provide 1000 liters of fuel for each of the buses after which the schools should be able to run the buses on their own. 'I will give 1000 liters of fuel, After that I don't know you, and you don't know me. Is that a deal?' He asked the excited students who answered in the positive.
The president also used the occasion to announce his ability to treat stroke and skin cancer.
'If you have a stroke there is a 99 percent possibility that you will walk again. Already I treated one with stroke and he is today walking. If you also take one dose, you will be ok from skin cancer' he said.
Groups of cured patients were in attendance to thank the President in person for their well-being. Moving speeches were made by two of the patients, and Dr. Mbowe and SoS Malikck Njie (full speeches to be published in the next issue of the Daily Observer).
In a jovial and happy speech, the president also cautioned those who have now been cleared of the pandemic to be careful as his medication is no gaurantee against re-infection. To that effect he said 'It is not a guaranty that you will not be re-infected if you are careless. I make it clear that my medication clears AIDs from your system. We only discharge you if the machine that first tested you and said you have AIDs again says you have been cleared of it. To say the virus is now curable does not give you the chance to be careless.'
The president emphasized that his cure of AIDs is free and purely based on humanitarian grounds and not a fight against pharmaceuticals that are making billions in fortunes due to the pandemic.
'Making my treatment free does not mean fighting anybody. Those who see the treatment as a threat should think of Allah as human beings are His assets,' he concluded."