Joseph Gomez, Baaba or Grand Pa, as we fondly called him, was a very nice, generous, kindhearted and compassionate old man. He was also Kammando by the elders.
My family came from the war front in Koidou Town, Kono district, known as Sefadou in Sierra Leone, where my late father of blessed memory was a diamond dealer. My elder siblings and I, the ‘chaat’ or last born, were all born there and my mother came along with us back to the Gambia when I was only 2 years old, my immediate sister, was 4, and the others two were 6 and 10 years, respectively. Since our arrival in The Gambia, we all stayed at Churchill Town and Baaba, our immediate neighbour in the next compound, chose me as his ‘grand-daughter’ wife among all my siblings. He was faithful to me as his wife until his last breath.
My immediate elder sister was always going behind my back to attempt to snatch Baaba from me but he would ‘rebuke’ her every time she does that.
“Stop chasing after me, I don’t love you, it is Mamu I love, can’t you get that into your thick skull?” Baaba would remind her.
He always enquires about me and during his birthdays I would make a cake for him as a special present and send him flowers and a card and which he was always looking forward to and appreciated.
At his last birthday just some few weeks ago when he celebrated his 88years, I was late to send his card but he had to send someone to ask for it and which I immediately bought and presented to him. In fact, he insisted that he would not eat the lunch that was prepared for him on his birthday “until Mamu is present”.
Mere Mantome, his wife, was always ‘jealous’ of this relationship but was unable to do anything about it.
“Mamu is my heart,” he would say to bluff Mantome.
He would also add “Juju or no juju, Mamu is my heart!”
During the last days before he passed away, he had requested that I cook for him one of his special dishes ‘meat pepper soup’. It is rather unfortunate that I was unable to fulfill this request of his which makes me feel very sad.
Baaba, you were a very good father, grand father, ‘husband’, friend, neighbour who will be greatly missed by your family, relatives, friends and neighbours alike.
As a church elder, may the blood of Jesus Christ cover you and may you be at his side and enjoy the heavens.
Adieu, my dear ‘husband’ and grand dad until we meet again and I will always remember you in my prayers. Adieu, till we meet again!