Editorial - September 12th, 2009
For the Betterment of Basse
As you may have already seen above, the Basse Association, Inc., herewith formally introduces to you the members of the Steering Committee. We have published their biographies and photos to help you familiarize yourselves with these individuals who have been charged with the responsibility of running the Association until such a time that the Constitution is ratified by the general membership and an Executive body is voted into office.
It is gratifying to note that we have gotten off to a good start. The Basse Association, Inc., which started just a few months ago, keeps expanding its frontiers. We are riding on a crest-wave of great momentum. More people are joining. And many more are still waiting in the wings. We hope that their slow warming-up to the BA is not an act of cynicism or deliberate hesitation. Rather, it is simply a period of reflection and studied silence, trying to figure out the functional basis of this Association, and what is it that they could do to contribute towards the effective functioning of the BA. Our doors are wide open. Our efforts to reach out to those still unconvinced or unpersuaded about the necessity of this noble exercise in community development shall continue in the weeks and months ahead. There will be no letting up in the efforts for a wider, more committed membership for the BA. In the end, that will just help us in the generation of more, diverse ideas, and the maximization of resources.
Our hopes and dreams for the township of Basse are huge and daunting. We have a lot of work to do. The BA has earmarked a number of areas of Basse civil society for augmentation, namely, among other things, the Basse central mosque, the Catholic church, educational support and sports development. Each area is important in its unique way. And each forms an integral part of our society's continued well-being.
Take the central mosque, for instance. Built so many years ago by the late businessman Alhaji Momodou Musa Njie, himself a Basserian, this mosque has contributed, in no small measure, to the religious nourishment of the natives of Basse. Even though another mosque exists in the western part of town, the central mosque still plays a hugely important role as a house of prayer. It is located right in the heart of town. Its centrality within the business district of Basse, makes it a more convenient port of call for the multitudes of people working or just buzzing in the area. Yet the mosque has fallen into disrepair in recent times. And it is not for lack of care on the part of the Basse elders or those entrusted with the upkeep of the mosque. It is just that their financial means are limited.
Thus, it behooves us all as Basserians, at home and abroad, to come to the rescue. If we do not have the financial capacity to build a new one in its place, the least we can do for the mosque is to give it a face-lift. We understand that the Basse central mosque committee has received some financial help from some certain individuals, notably the Gambian President, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh. We are happy that some people are helping. But we would be happier still, if Basserians themselves coughed up a dalasi or two, rolled up their sleeves and went to work for the mosque and the town in its entirety.
Sports development is another area. Football has fallen off in Basse in recent years. The talents and skills of the bygone eras have not been replicated. The competitiveness of Basse teams in both national and sub-regional tournaments has lost much of its edge in recent times. The High Level football field has been left idle, weeds and dirt are creeping up. Understandably, the preference attached to the mini stadium has handicapped the utility of the High Level grounds. Agreed, this represents some form of advancement in Basse football. But this is no excuse to abandon a historical landmark such as the High Level field. Its story is partly the story of Basse, a community which greatly benefited from the unifying and developmental effects of sports --- football, in this regard.
Perhaps, it needs reminding that Basse, including its outlying areas of Mansajang, Kaba Kama, Manneh Kunda and Koba Kunda, is an important place of important sons and daughters. It is the home town of Sarjo Bayang, the late Ousainou Njie, the late M.C. Jallow, Alhaji Omar Sey, Samba Dunkin, Sellou Bah, Bakary Sillah, Sheriffo Kora, and many more. We have produced many good and capable citizens who went into and still are, in public service at both the local and national levels. It is the headquarters of a region known for its enterprising ideas and entrepreneurship, whether it is about the creative appetites of the numerous businessmen and women in Basse or the folks in Demba Kunda or Sare Alpha or Garawol taking up responsibilities for their own communities, running their own health clinics and providing their own electricity;and caring less about the uncertainties of government-run public services and the very distance of central government. All this is possible because of a shared love for the community, the interconnectedness of neighborhoods and families, and the binding ties of history.
All is not lost. Basse is still a vibrant, prosperous town. With a teeming population and a strong financial base, Basse is very much a force to reckon with in the calculus of national development. However, it is still important to remind folks about the essence of the soul reconnecting with the ancestral soil. We all owe Basse, a place that contributed immeasurably to our development, from the formative years of youth to the completeness of adulthood, our total support, morally and financially.
If you were ever thinking about giving back to your Basse community but had been held back by the concerns and burdens of single-handed efforts, the Basse Association has widened the tent for you. Many hands make light work. It has been proven.
From the Editors.