Gambians on Saturday returned the honour bestowed on them by the City of Raleigh, North Carolina, where May 17 was proclaimed “the Gambia Day” last year.
In her proclamation letter dated May 24th 2013, Raleigh Mayor praised Gambians for their long and storied history of seeking and supporting a democratic form of self-government. Mayor Nancy McFarlane said this was demonstrated by Gambians who flew from across the world to attend the three-day Conference on Democracy and Good Governance in Raleigh last year.
Declaration of May 17 as Gambia Day was a response to a request advanced by Mr. Alkali Conteh who led the highly attended Gambia conference that encompassed delegates from all walks of life. Among those in attendance included opposition political leaders, Congressman David Price and Representative of Senator Kay Hagan.
Mr. Conteh leads Gambia Democratic Action Group based in Raleigh. Mr. Conteh led Gambians to embark on community service at Pullen Park. He said Gambia Day can be compared to Martin Luther King Day as Gambians in Raleigh will be paid on this day for not working. “This is a great honour for all of us; no community has been granted this kind of honour and we felt there is need for us to give back to Raleigh for making us feel at home,” he said. “It’s in this regard that we wrote to the City of Raleigh that we also want to do any kind of community service. City officials really appreciated that and asked us to trim trees, landscape and clean Pullen Park.”
Many Gambians who spoke to Kairo Radio as they toiled in Pullen Park were proud of “giving back to a City that has given us what no other community got .” Gambian culture stresses great importance to “paying goodness with goodness.”
The former deputy Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Health, Mr. Ebou Manneh, also took part in the community service. Mr. Manneh was happy that Gambians turned up at Pullen Park as a united front.