WRITTEN BY: BABOUCARR E.A. BUSSO (The Icon of Truth), School of Education, University of The Gambia 

Two years ago, a boy of my village called Modou fled home to an unknown place. He was so brilliant throughout his school’s career until Grade nine(9) when he could no longer bear the pain of schooling without proper financial assistance. His parents live in an abject poverty without a breadwinner. They lived from hand to mouth and found it difficult to finance Modou’s demand on regular basis. They could not provide him fare and money to use as “pocket money” at school to purchase breakfast like his friends at break time. They couldn’t afford him a new uniform at the beginning of any academic year, coupled with the covered shoes which is a policy to abide by, and more sadly pay his school fees at the last minutes in arrears every year.

However, on this occasion, even though, the trend of Modou’s situation at home didn’t improve, there was a high hope that he will do well in the examination which was very near. The teachers and pupils of the school all admired him despite his poor attires and inability to finance any fund chargeable at school even if levied for genuine reasons such as excursions, field trips, club contributions, etc. He couldn’t finance it due to his background. It was very shameful for him to fail almost all necessities involving money. He was a shy boy, and therefore, doesn’t desire his status in the school campus. He told his closest friend Musa that he would not continue his education because his parents are not fit to pay for his final exam which is examinable at international standard. The papers shall carry his name as someone who could not register for the exam on time or fail to register at all.

Seemingly, he failed to returned home after the school reminded the pupils to start paying for the registration fees because the Examination Council had sent a form for the notification. In two weeks, the deadline would have ensued. Modou refused to inform his parents because he believed that they can’t pay for the amount charged. He decided to hermit out of his home.

However, report had it that he joined a fishing boat which had its base in Senegal. There was no where to contact him anywhere. The parents received the information in shock. They kept praying for his return home, but to no avail. The school also wrote a letter to the parents that they have secured a Scholarship package for him from an Egyptian donor through a “Charity Foundation.” The parents were worried of how to get him informed because the examination was dragging so near. Presumably, one month away.

Meanwhile, Modou was in custody in Libya (Tripoli). He was a migrant prisoner and his custodians demanded money to be paid for his release. His parents heard this in great distress because they were threatened that without the payment of the money in an account they identified, he will be killed forthwith. In his voice, Modou said, ” Father! Hurry up and pay this money now because my life is in danger.”

The Father cried loud, “why did you go there my son? Why didn’t you focus on your school? Here is you letter to pay for your school’s charges until you graduate.” Modou was full of thoughts. He regretted his move and pleaded forgiveness from his parents. The Principal was told about this, he contacted the donors, and told them about the condition of the sensational boy they were supposed to help. They converted the assistant to free him. When the amount was settled, he was deported back to his country.

In conclusion, as a result of his truant move, Modouremained a drop-out in his entire life. He could not sit to the examination that year and decided not to go back to his younger brothers’ and sisters’ class. His dream to reach Europe was killed in Libya. He could not cross the Mediterranean sea and this was the end of his promising career. He remained a beggar until he felt ill, and he could not survive it: “As one makes one’s bed, so one must lie on it.”

The Icon of Truth.

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