Home Maintenance in The Gambia

April 30, 2024

Bubaco (Bob) Jabbie is a very well known figure in and around Banjul. He works for the National Rehabilitation Centre in Banjul as a Home Maintenance man. But Bob’s home maintenance has little to do with fixing buildings or domestic appliances although I’m sure he could turn his hand to that as well. Together with his assistant Ebrima he travels throughout The Gambia to the homes of amputees who have problems with their prosthetic leg and who would find it difficult to get to the Centre to have any adjustment or repair made. If Bob can’t fix it he will refer the person to the Centre where there are more resources and he will ensure they have the means to travel there even if it means bringing them in himself.

One of Bob’s recent home visits was to Musa A Sowe whose leg was causing him some pain and he arranged that we could accompany him and talk to Musa about his experience of being an amputee.

Musa lives in a compound with his family of 2 grown up children and his brother’s son in houses around him and his wife in the same compound. He had his left leg amputated 2 years ago due to diabetes and the years since have been very challenging for him as, until he was fitted with a prosthetic leg,  he had to use crutches to get about and his leg was painful. He is a farmer with a large field that, although he is not able to work on it himself at present, he has employed some people to do it for him. At the moment he does lots of walking which is getting easier so he is able to go to the shops and the bank and takes great pleasure in looking after the chickens and his goats which he keeps in the smallholding he has in his yard along with some vegetables. The chickens are part of his plan to remain the breadwinner for his family. He recently bought 500 (??) with the aim of rearing them until they reach 2 kilos when his friend will take them to market to sell them for him.

A very independent man, Musa has a very positive outlook on life and says he feels far stronger mentally than before his amputation. As a result he wants to reach out to his fellow amputees to encourage them to get out and about, to socialise and be useful rather than staying indoors or begging on the streets. He plans to have a business where he can employ amputees which will give them back their self respect and dignity and show people that althoug they may be physically disabled they are not mentally disabled and they are part of the community. 

He was very appreciative of the work that Bob and Ebrima do telling us that they were very dedicated and caring and would come to look after him whatever time they were needed. Indeed, Bob himself told us that it was not unknown for him to visit someone at 2am to make a repair as that person may need to be mobile and able to go to work later in the day. The time spent with Musa was a privilege and a life affirming experience and we left feeling in awe of his positive attitude despite the challenges he faces.

As if to underline his remarks about Bob, our return journey was interrupted when Bob suddenly stopped the car as he’d seen someone he knew in a wheelchair flagging him down by the side of the road. He was having a problem with his wheelchair so, while the man sat on a nearby bench, Bob set to putting it right. Not so much Home Maintenance but more Roadside Repairs.

About the author

Name: SuePownall

Hey there, I’m Sue! I keep things running smoothly around here, answering all your queries at hello@stand.ngo, coordinating generous leg donors from around the globe with our partners in Africa. I’ve got a keen eye for detail, so I’m also the one catching typos and sprucing up our blogs. When I’m not wielding my admin wand, you’ll find me lost in a good book, doodling away, getting crafty with some sewing, soaking up some ballet or theatre, or just laughing it up with my mates. And yes, I’m often the one bringing the biscuits – because who doesn’t love a good biscuit?

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