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What does Gambians in the US pursue? The Dollar or a degree?

Over the years, a lot of Gambians have traveled to the US and other western countries to pursue greener pastures. Everyone normally has a big plan but as soon as they land in “Babylon”, it becomes a completely different ball game.  Several reasons make it impossible for most to continue their original plan and pursue their dreams. For example, some people come to the west with a student visa or even if they come as visitors, they still have the ambition of going to school to pursue their academic goals. Often times, lack of opportunities especially legal papers make it impossible for them to follow through. People who don’t have legal status are not qualified to have any scholarships, grants, financial aids or even In-state tuition fees. Because they are considered international students or illegal aliens, it doesn’t matter how intelligent they are or what their GPA is, they still pay three times more than what in-state students pay which most people can’t afford to pay. As a result, their priorities change and they end up diverting their focus.

Despite all odds, some people, regardless of their obstacles, still do everything possible to make sure their dreams come through. Some have to work two full time jobs just to be able to pay for their tuition and put a roof over their heads and take care of the demands coming from family back home.

African students in America should be really applauded. As mentioned earlier, the average student  pays for his/her own tuition out of pocket, he/she still maintains a full time job and those that are married also include taking care of a partner and raising a family while going to school full time. With all these, they still maintain a good GPA.

Not only are we talking about college students here but even high school students work hard equally.  In addition to their school projects, they are engage in extracurricular activities and helping their parents to look after their younger siblings or even work to bring extra money to the house. They become real hustlers by the time they graduate from high school. 

Now let’s get it right. There are two categories of students. The kids that are born in The Gambia but came to the US at an early age to complete their education, and the kids born of Gambian parents in America. The latter usually have more opportunities and benefits than the former because they (the America born with Gambian parents) are US citizens. They sometimes find themselves in very horrible and difficult situations especially if both the kids and their parents are illegal immigrants. In such circumstances, the parents cannot even make enough money to take care of the family’s basic needs, talk less of extra. The kids have to also hustle sometimes to get ends meet. They feel jealous of their colleagues and this leads some of them to pick up unfortunate lifestyles. The boys end up becoming gangsters and criminals whiles the girls become wayward or even prostitutes. Nonetheless, some still stay contented and support each other as a family throughout their academic career.

We are head quartered in the US but we are pretty sure that it is virtually the same reality with Gambians in other parts of the world. As we get closer to the graduation season for the class of 2014, Gambian Talents will be profiling Gambians around the world who has worked extremely hard to get to the point of graduating from high school, college or any other high institution of learning.

One of such sons of The Gambia who worked through thick and thin to go to school in the US is Mustapha Kah. The son of Oustas Mass Kah (the first Oustas to teach in a formal school Muhammedan Primary School in The Gambia) and Mrs Fatou Leigh. Mustapha attended Methodist primary School, Gambia High School up to sixth form and Central Piedmont Community college where he got his associates in Computer Engineering Technology. He proceeded to the University of North Carolina in Charlotte-NC where he graduated with bachelors in computer engineering in 2005. Last Saturday May 4th 2014; Mustapha graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a Masters in project management. He is also a true philanthropist and someone who believes in the spirit of Gambianism. Our reporter caught up with Mustapha for an exclusive interview shortly after his graduation ceremony. Click on the following link to read the full interview.

If you are a Gambian living anywhere in the world and have a rich story to tell or if you know someone who does, please contact us by visiting or call 404-593-6215.

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