Yes! This is for all 4,899 of you, with special mention to the very active ones who actually deserve the greater responsibility for that which is mentioned in today’s heading. By the way, why have I always attached a negative meaning to the word ‘pester’? Too lazy to grab a dictionary now so I’ll just go with the title’s flow and assume that it could be good or bad. It is convenient too, for that is exactly what you lot(positive) do.
It’s been almost two years and in all honesty, you have been a huge part of my online existence. An assortment of characters from all parts of the world, together on one group sharing ideas and having fun… that’s what you are. At first, I was just a spectator. I preferred the laid-back contributions by simply sending my literature to the Balafong website. I watched as your numbers grew, making the discussions and debates more interesting each day. With you,one could (re)live that feeling of our all-famous bantaba. I wake up in the morning and run over to join the crew, observing, analysing, agreeing, disagreeing, learning and sometimes staring in utter disbelief at some of the things I see. I gradually started sharing a comment here and a post there, and now I can’t and don’t want to stop.
You are like a village, with different groups for specific purposes. Among you, there are those who can drown you in their wit and wisdom. Engaging them in a debate is sometimes difficult, as they end up drowning you in their depths, allowing you to resurface only to throw you back in. This group has mastered the art of essay-writing and most certainly do not see the value in summary. A single comment comes in a hundred lines, making one wonder what happened to ‘shift+enter’. As if that is not enough,the lines are loaded with words that’d get one grabbing a dictionary or, in my case, simply scrolling past. I remember that epic introductory post by one of your now-exiled brothers, where we had great fun questioning the need for the complex grammar when we could all communicate with simple words. It’s been one of my favourite moments with you all. Some say it was bullying, but then again, to each his own.
Ah! Talk of bullies now and have everyone turn their face to the other side. Your bully siblings are usually on standby,waiting to pounce and devour their prey. Their deadliest weapon is sarcasm and it takes only a few doses to floor their target. They do not allow a ridiculous post to stay up for too long. It is digested while still hot and then they stay in wait again… for the next one. Sometimes it is to welcome new members. Other times, it is a repeat attack on er, repeat offenders. Most times, we all just have fun and everyone knows not to take offence. I see your ‘paperlize’ dude smiling. On rare occasions, it gets rather heated, drawing more attention and earning us all a popcorn break.
Some days, you all just decide to wake up on the wrong side of your communal bed. An innocent post/comment is suddenly very offensive and woe betide its owner. The debates on these days know no limits. The number of participants varies as some leave when they feel their toes have been stepped on enough. In the same way, others jump into the wagon when they feel they’ve been in the sidelines for too long. The beauty of this whole scenario is that there is always something to learn. It may be so much about a person’s point of view as it is about human relations and interactions in certain situations. Sometimes, it gets personal, prompting the arrival of the infamous Community Order Agents, known to you as Fong Admin. Note that some of these officers had probably been a part of the whole drama, enjoying it all like regular members.
Sometimes Most times, they also come under attack from you all… and that whole fiasco ‘pesters my mind’ a lot.
Since inception, we have witnessed a few ‘brave’ ones coming up to challenge the house guidelines, with emphasis on the ‘no-partisan politics’ rule. They rant and rave and rant again, but have never really been successful in having their demands met. I read through some of their comments and feel like pulling my hair out at their reasoning. In all honesty, how difficult is it to respect the wishes of those who brought us all together? Often, I’ve been criticised by friends for keeping silent on the whole issue, just because I am now a part of the administration. This development came up after a year with you all and I have never really been one to bother about that squabble. I am more than content with the main aim of the group,which is to promote literature in The Gambia. Anything else is a bonus and I sometimes wonder why it is hard to accept. When faced with these objections, Fong Admin was known to swim in with explanations and clarifications, sometimes leading to heated exchanges and a few exits. Lately, no attention is paid and it works just great for us all. No? Oh well.
It has been a real ride with smooth passages and rough bumps. However, each day, I keep coming back to you all. When I interact with you,directly and indirectly, I am always pushed to think some more. There’s always something new to learn, especially from people who really know what they are saying and base all their pronouncements on fact. I read your views and am usually torn between two things: one is the urge to learn some more about a certain topic; the other is the disbelief that comes with seeing certain things on there. I love it when we all come together and share fun stories, jokes and riddles for it’s a great way to rid your mind of the day’s hassles. It has been amazing to see the birth of other groups and causes, as a result of discussions and even arguments that started with you all. Being a part of two of these initiatives, I am always reminded of the power in unity, despite our differences.
I’ll say the most ‘pestering’ has been done these past nineteen days. With this challenge, I’ve always got you all in mind from the minute I wake up to that when I hit ‘Publish’. Some days, I sit staring at the blank page for over an hour, willing my mind to send me the right words. I succeed because I am always reminded that out there, you sit waiting for each day’s entry. It’s been a beautiful ride with you all and one I greatly appreciate. I only wish that you all will tag your posts right and save the Tag police some work!
We may fuss and fight. We may throw tantrums and take offence at everything. We remember to always agree to disagree… or maybe the other way round. The beauty of it all is that … ‘anythinga anything, yenai sama Balafong!‘
P.S. Big shout out to the coolest of you all… the SSSSFF! In the words of the Emperor, ‘Peace, cheese and hair grease’.