Bonjour Senegal!!!

Ralph Sawyerr in front of the Sierra Leone embassy in Senegal

When L’ information (the information) or what we as journalists refer to as news premier (first) came to me on that raining Mercredi  (Wednesday) morning, that I was to be reassigned from State House to Senegal and The Gambia, Je mal a la tete’ (I felt instant headache). Permit me to qualify the headache. I meant I felt- a splitting headache.  Definitely, one would care to know pourquoi? (why). Well, since the inception of the Ernest Koroma era, I have served as Press Officer to no less a person, than the Commander in Chief Monsieur le President (MR. President).  In short the Presidency.  I have so to speak enjoyed all the privileges, protocols and courtesies that office is accorded with.

All through that blessed/worrisome day, I have taken time apart to ponder over the information, as to what it would mean and change in me. Firstly, it would mean not being able to on a day to day basis cover the activities of the Presidency both at home and abroad and secondly above all not being able to have audience with him at will on a one to one basis.

Naturellement, il me rendre (naturally, it makes one sad). Nuit-la (that night), a mild dose of buffen tabs, taken sent me to bed earlier than usual with an open but contrast mind. Dormi (Sleep) like death must have drifted me into a vision (dream) of the sub-conscious mind. For I dreamt I had packaged myself and was on board a bateau (ship) – M.V. SeneGambia, sailing through the Atlantic ocean. Destination – Dakar.

As I was about to take a glass of a non alcoholic beverage (point of contact), the rude ringing of my cell phone woke me up from my slumber.  The reality was still there and evident that it has pleased no less a person but his Excellency to appoint me as Information Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Senegal and the Gambia period.

Donc! (Well), the long and short of the matter was that since it has pleased the one that sent me, it has principally so pleased me to serve mon pays (my country) this time, one step forward as a diplomat. My duty is simple but yet not an easy task. Responsible for putting the information machinery into active gear, as the Mission staff strived in bringing the two ECOWAS sister states closer and closer and closer- culturally, in sports, trade, information, economy and other bilateral related issues.

With all of the above perfectly done, it would no doubt  help to shape and develop the economic destiny of the two states, the region and even beyond.

Having documented and put in place, all necessary arrangements pertaining to my appointment at the Foreign Ministry and equip with a diplomatic passport, it was time to face the hour of decision. I stood silently in front of State House one windy Friday morning and with my eyes pregnant with tears, I gave my last bow. For it was a bow, that translate my inner self into facing the reality. That, of the joy of going and that of parting.

Mon Dieu! (My God!) For it was a solemn bow in honor and respect for an office of dignity I once served with courage and humility.

Destination:- Dakar, Senegal. Flight—Arik Airline- Boeing 737 – 800 Aircraft. Route – Freetown- Banjul- Dakar: Estimated time- 13.20 GMT.

As I board the aircraft, I could hear my Man’s mind vibrating and singing a song “Senegal here I come” over and over. In my seat I never for once wanted to envisage what lies ahead. I mean the challenges of disseminating information, far and wide. What are challenges? if not to be faced and overcome by determination and focus. Once, air borne, I slowly closed my eyes and offered a little prayer – “God bless my President and my country”

Exactement, (At exactly) 13:15 GMT, the wheels of the Aircraft touched down slowly but sharply at the Dakar International Airport. As I disembarked my sub-conscious mind exploded uncontrollably and I could hear myself shouting – BONJOUR SENEGAL!!!  At once all eyes of the disembarking passengers penetrated me from all directions. Well, someone dressed in an immaculate white gown did shout back- “Bienvenue”

With no stress, I was picked up by Embassy staff and whisked through immigration and security into the beautiful but expensive city of Dakar. As the car cruised through the Dakar tense traffic, I laid back observed and admired how Dakar has developed over the years.

At the Immeuble Fadh 17th story building down town Dakar, where the Sierra Leone Embassy occupies the 13th floor, I was ushered into the office of my Boss, Ambassador Khadijatu Bassir for the normal courtesies. Next I had audience with the Head of Chancery, Sahr Johnny and introduced to Staff, with smiling faces.

As I write this little piece, I am comfortably seated in my fully A/C office, overlooking   the sea port of Dakar. Indeed, what else can I say? Nothing but this time directly from my conscious mind –  “Bonjour Senegal! I bring with me all greetings from Sierra Leone”

Ralph Ese’Donnu Sawyerr,

Information Attaché, Embassy of Sierra Leone – In Senegal and The Gambia.

© 2011, Ralph Sawyerr. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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