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A SPECIAL BIOGRAPHY

 

BY A MOTHER LEFT IN SORROW NOW

 Following the death of his son at President Yahya Jammeh’s villa in Kanilai, a bereaved Gambian mother is paying tribute to his departed son Samuel Ajayi Ayodele, widely known as Sam Boy. Sam Boy a former staffer of The Gambia National Water And Electricity Company NAWEC was electrocuted to death while working at the President’s home village of Kanilai. Sam’s Mum In a passionate tribute letter dedicated to his late son remarked ”We have all lost Sam Boy but I want the world to know that I, Marie Jones, have lost- my dear baby! God does nothing amiss. He knows best to have put me through all that trouble from pre-maturity and home care and struggle for Sam Boy to stay with me only for so short a time – just when I was beginning to enjoy his maturity, responsibility and respect; just when every one was beginning to love him for who he was. But I accept in faith and in the fullest submission to God’s will.

I pray for all victims of electrical accidents. I pray for all mothers who have had to face the death of their young children. I pray for all workers who have come to so tragic an end as Sam Boy, my baby, has had to endure. I pray that Sam Boy be the last victim of such a terrible mishap in his former place of work. I am sure that God will never close his ears to my prayer. I was far away from Sam Boy but God who was close by him had seen all what transpired until my baby lost his young life. He knows the full story and He will make it plain. Mine is to obey and to manage my grief. “ Below is Madam Jone’s full tribute letter, which she sent to the Freedom Newspaper. Please read on…

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I share the anguish that Our Mother Mary must have felt to see her Son disfigured on a tree at Calvary. I feel the stabs of the sharps words of sorrow and helplessness that must have pierced her heart through and through to see her Son hanging, a lifeless public spectacle on a pole. I found no other place to run to except to our Blessed Virgin Mary for consolation in my ordeal, a kind she has also been through.

SAMUEL AJAYI AYODELE

If the other babies got infected mine too might get infected, I thought I had to do something to protect Sam Boy. I took it upon myself to become the bottle washer for the ward; first thing in the morning and last thing before bedtime. Sam Boy’s father asked to pay for a private room for Sam Boy but the doctors said the baby was too fragile and would not do well away from the ward that was equipped to sustain his condition.

I spent the next two months sleeping on the hospital floor on a spread next to my baby’s bed. I fed him hourly; through the day and through the night! Sam Boy was a tenacious child and he began responding well to feeding and medication. My desperate struggle to keep him free from infection had become legendary in the ward; some people thought I had lost my mind about infection. When he was strong enough we left the hospital for even closer attention at home.

He caught on and grew up normally. We sent him to nursery school at the Anglican Parsonage on Independence Drive. From there he went to the Methodist Preparatory and Kindergarten (MPK) School and on to the Crab Island Junior Secondary School where he finished. He socialized and mixed well; he joined the Boy’s Brigade and he enrolled in the Mid Eve Hunting Society and became a devoted cultural man. Sam Boy began to grow and his personality began to show. The person he became convinced me that all the struggle and sleepless nights through his fragile years were worth the trouble it had taken to make him live. Sam Boy became a most caring person. He showed me love; he showed me kindness. He extended the same thoughtfulness and concern and a willing, helping hand even to those older than he was. Every one who got to know Sam Boy soon agreed what a responsible and duty-conscious young man he was.

Because of the attention he needed in his early days as a premature baby, an unimaginable closeness had developed between him and me. I did not realize how strongly the child was attached until the Easter holidays some years ago when the children decided they would spend the holidays with their grandfather in his village home in Diouloulou.
I went along to see them off at the car park. Sam Boy was sixteen, a big boy at the time and I thought he was old enough to handle being away from home. While other passengers were arriving to fill up the vehicle Sam Boy asked me to sit with him inside while we waited. The van filled up eventually and the driver was ready to take off. To everybody’s astonishment, as soon as I got to say goodbye Sam Boy got out as well. He was not going if I were not going. It was a holiday trip for him and his sisters and brothers. He insisted he was not going unless I also traveled. The van left without him.

When his father finished work and found Sam Boy at home, he said he had always wondered if Sam Boy would ever have gone away from me for as long as two weeks. He spent his Easter holidays away from the other children just to be with me.

Sam Boy grew up strong. He was dependable and he learnt quickly by observation and by practice. Sam Boy chose a line of trade after his father’s in electrical engineering. He decided he would sharpen his skills at the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) from where he earned a basic technician’s certificate. He found work at the Gambia Electrical Company before he left to work in his father’s consulting agency. Two years ago he joined the National Water Electricity Company (NAWEC). He did wonderfully at work and was making headway, showing concern for all he met and worked with.

Sam Boy was ready to take on other people’s problems. He never liked to see people in difficulty. Only three months ago, his father was almost cancelling his trip on our family holidays we had planned because he was worried about the running of the home if we all went away for so long. Sam Boy urged his father to go and to get some rest, not to worry and leave things in his capable hands. With that assurance his father was able to firm up on his decision to come on the holiday tour. Sam Boy held the fort responsibly as grieving neighbors when we arrived back home after the tragedy.

My husband and I traveled to England, Germany and Denmark for a restful break and to attend joyous family wedding occasions including that of our nephew Nduka Ajayi Ojeh (Audrey Jones Ojeh’s son) which took place in London on September 29. We spent some time in Germany before going to Denmark for the wedding of our daughter, Maggie. We were at the wedding reception in the town of Osted on Saturday November 3 when the news of Sam Boy’s “accident” reached us. My husband, an experienced hand in the electrical engineering business, said to us immediately that an accident could only mean that Sam Boy was dead. He was right; 11,000 volts of electricity had surged through my baby’s body while he was working.

We have all lost Sam Boy but I want the world to know that I, Marie Jones, have lost- my dear baby! God does nothing amiss. He knows best to have put me through all that trouble from pre-maturity and home care and struggle for Sam Boy to stay with me only for so short a time – just when I was beginning to enjoy his maturity, responsibility and respect; just when every one was beginning to love him for who he was. But I accept in faith and in the fullest submission to God’s will.

I pray for all victims of electrical accidents. I pray for all mothers who have had to face the death of their young children. I pray for all workers who have come to so tragic an end as Sam Boy, my baby, has had to endure. I pray that Sam Boy be the last victim of such a terrible mishap in his former place of work. I am sure that God will never close his ears to my prayer. I was far away from Sam Boy but God who was close by him had seen all what transpired until my baby lost his young life. He knows the full story and He will make it plain. Mine is to obey and to manage my grief.

I will miss Sam Boy’s kindness and care. I will miss his consoling counsel. Above all, I will miss his closeness. I pray that his young and gentle soul will rest until we meet again.

His dear mother, Marie.

Editors Note: The Management of the Freedom Newspaper wishes to register our heart-felt condolence to the bereaved family. To Madam Jones, we say keep putting your trust in God. This is one of the worse tragedy the Gambia had ever witnessed. Sam was one of those fine NAWEC staffers. He smiles a lot and was very dedicated to his work.

We hope The Gambian police will come out with a comprehensive report on the demise of the late Sam Boy. For God sake, Sam’s case file should not be left to gather dust in your offices. His family reserve the right to know what led his demise.

NAWEC should cooperate with the investigators this time around. We have witnessed instances, where NAWEC staffers lost their lives while at work and no compensation was given to bereaved families.

About five Indians also died of electric shocks at Pipe Line some years ago and the case file for that case is gathering dust at the police. We need action and not mere empty statements.

(Sam Boy) was born a premature baby; he had kept only six months and two weeks in my womb when he arrived on December 18, 1978. In the hospital ward where we were admitted babies were dying with such frequency- as many as six in a day. I was worried that mine also would not survive. I took the nurse aside and asked her why so many of the babies were dying. She said it had to do with infection from the feeling bottles. The mothers were not washing them properly.

Posted on Wednesday, December 05, 2007 (Archive on Monday, December 31, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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