BOUKOMBE is a tiny village in the country of BENIN, WEST AFRICA.

THE STORY OF Gildas N'Dah

Gildas N'Dah

I met a young man on facebook who lives in the village of Boukombe. I had never heard of it.

So I decided to do a story of the young man and the village as well. His name is Gildas N'Dah. It is a tiny village in Africa, yet it offers hotel rooms and a restaurant/ bar to travelers. And the rating is between 4 and 5 stars. 

The young man is a student who has had his share of English studies to be able to speak it. And he has had a number of years in learning the language.  However, he himself admits he speaks poor English. I find he has a lot of snap in his thinking, even though at times he is lost in how to say it well! But he does not… give up and I think he is a bright person with a lot of ambition. Although he desired to come to the United States to study English it has not happened.

The ancestors of the people of Boukombe have shown a great amount of resilience, having had to fight many wars against armys their army was unable to defend against.

HIS LIGHT OF HOPE IS FOR SOMEONE TO TEACH HIM THE LANGUAGE OF THE DAY!

 

So, I decided to do an interview with Gildas, to expose the reality of this set back and exploit how this type of hindering can hold a person back for their entire life- time. A simple thing that we here in the United States take for granted, speaking English, is not accessible to the entire world. The way I see it, the world is a huge jungle, but there is only one human race and we are all equally a part of it. Moreover, we are all in it together. He asked me if I would help him with English. I am honored he chose me and I am no expert, but I told him I will!

THE INTERVIEW

 

Gildas- “Gypsy!! Thank you. I'm very happy to you. I wish to see you One day!! What country are you in?”

 

Gypsy-“Hi I’m in America. Cool Gildas…after the world gets rid of corona virus, it will be a better place to live! What country are you in? and you could say it this way: ---"Gypsy thank you!! I’m very happy to hear from you.””

 

 Gildas "I'm in Benin. One country of west Africa. Do you know it ???"

 

Gypsy- “I did not know about Benin. I know about Cameroon and Capetown. I have friends in both places. Can you send me pictures of Benin and you and so I can download them for my website?"

 Gildas “Ok. But not now. Tomorrow. i'm working now”

 Gypsy “That’s cool! Thank you, I will put them on my website and do a whole page on you and Benin and you should visit my website—www.gypsyquill.com”

 Gildas “Ok. But it's tomorrow ok!!”

 Gypsy “Yes, and if you can, send ---JPG pics or JPEG pics so I can download onto my computeršŸ˜Š Thank you Gildas! And when you have time, you should read stuff on my website and that will help you too, as far as learning English well!”

 Gildas “Ok. Thank you. You are very kind with me”

 Gypsy “I like to meet people in other countries. You are a very cool person!! I hope you continue to study English and learn to speak it well. It can help you around the world!”

Gildas "Ok. Thank you. You are very kind. Tomorrow i'll write to you."

 Gypsy "I have to go now…let’s stay stay in touch and stay safe and healthy from Covid-19 virus. Watch out don’t shake hands with people, that’s how it is spreading!"

 Gildas "Thank you Gypsy."

 Gypsy "You are very welcome man!! I am going to share a nature trail pan movie from my website on your page. When you get time watch it and it has music too! It is interesting and you can read the story on the same page as the pan movie.”

 Gildas "Waouh!!! I like it. Good bye."

We re-connected the next day to continue our interview. And I realized Gildas is very open minded. Even as young as he is. And so this time we talked about the village. Some of its history and even some history of his family ancestors. Boukombe had been attacked several times and after serious wars places that lose tend to take a long time to start over and move on...because of the shock, the financial loss as well as family losses. For such a tiny village, Boukombe thrives to move on and succeed to this modern day!

Gypsy "Hey Gildas...can you send me pictures of your country?"

 Gildas -"Yes. I'll send it next day. I'm in my village actually."

Gypsy "What is the name of your village? And what does the name mean? And how is your family?"

 Gildas "M'y village name is ''Boukombé'' Familly : N'DAH"

Gypsy "What does Boukombe mean? What does it stand for? The meaning of the name Boukombe?"

 Gildas "In translation, Boukombé want to Say ''One death''"

Gypsy "Was it named after a person?"

 Gildas "It is since Time of colonialism that our ancestors find this name. Because there suffered ,so they said that ''if WE don't resist, we'll die, and if WE resist, WE Can die also like WE Can live, so die in resistance or be Kill by white people, it is the same death. It is in this circumstance that they was been lanced in resistance. i'm sûre that you'll understand, my english is very poor."

Gypsy "I understand what you mean---During the time of Colonialism your ancestors suffered and that they said if you do not resist and fight that you will die. Either way even if they did not resist they would die. So either they died by resisting or they would be killed any way.I'm sorry that this happened to your ancestors. Were the white men from England? Or were the white men French?"

 Gildas "It was Germans, in first time, Englands at the second and finally Frenchs after the second world war. Concerning my familly, it is the names that our parents give at their children in order of Born. My family's name correspond at the forth(4th) boy of family. Every boy found his family and give at it her name."

Gypsy "So your village was attacked by Germans, English and French. This is a lot of war."

 Gildas "It was in time of colonialism!!"

Gypsy "So does Gildas stand for the fourth boy? Were you the fourth boy?"

 Gildas "Not, it is N'DAH. my family name. This want to say that my ancestor was the fourth boy of his family.

Gypsy "Is that what N'Dah means? I think I understand...you are doing well with English. You are learning!!"

 Gildas "It is since the first class at secondary school. I wanted to study in USA for learn more English. But my parents didn't have the means to help me."

 

Gildas and his father

Gypsy "I understand. The more we talk the more you will get use to English. Do you have a dictionary?"

 Gildas "No."

Gypsy "If you want I will get you one and mail it to you. Can you receive mail?

But it will be a bit of time because right now Americans are stuck at home.

You can learn English in Capetown, south Africa. I have a friend that lives there ! She can help you."

 Gildas "I cannot go to that country because it is far away!! I can receive mail."

Gypsy " I will talk to you tomorrow, I have to go ---goodbye!" 

 

THE HISTORY OF BENIN

 

The Edo people settled in the rainforests of West Africa in the 900s naming their Kingdom Benin. By the 1400s they had created a wealthy kingdom with a powerful ruler, known as the Oba. The Obas lived in beautiful palaces decorated with shining brass. Gradually, the Obas obtained more land and built an empire. Under the rule of the Obas, Benin organized its numerous craftsmen into guilds. The kingdom is famous for its ivory and wood carvers. But Benin is also famous for brass smiths and bronze casters, some of the best at making naturalistic heads, bas-reliefs, and other sculptures.

 

Eweka thus started a dynasty that now bears his name. Oranmiyan went on to serve as the founder of the Oyo Empire, where he ruled as the first Alaafin of Oyo. His descendants now rule in Ile Ife, Oyo and Benin. By the 15th century, Benin had expanded into a thriving city-state.

 

The French colonized Benin changing its name to Dahomey, establishing a commercial agreement with the kingdom in 1851 and gradually consolidated their control of Dahomey until 1904, when it was made a colony within French West Africa. It had become a powerful kingdom, famed for its women warriors. It established its independence on August 1, 1960, as the Republic of Benin. Military governments succeeded until 1972 when Mathieu Kerekou rose to power with the establishment of a government based on Marxist-Leninist principles.

 

So, it was during this French Colonial period and at its independence, the country was known as Dahomey. But on November 30, 1975, it was renamed-- Benin, after the body of water on which the country lies—the Bight of Benin, a section of the Gulf of Guinea. This had been named by Europeans after the Benin Empire in present-day Nigeria. Benin's largest ethnic group is the Fon (39%), followed by the Adja (15%), Yoruba (12%) and Bariba (9%).

Boukombe is a tiny village in Benin where Gildas N’Dah lives.

 

©-2020--Gildas N'Dah and Gypsy Quill—www.gypsyquill.com