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Where is Gambia, Africa? I don't know but I know that it if far far away. I had never heard of that place until I met someone who over the last 2 years has become my friend. His name is Sistern Jabang and he is from Gambia. He is in his 20's but has wisdom far beyond that. I have truly been blessed by getting to work with him. He is an excellent co-worker but an even better friend. When did he become my friend? Well! I don't really know. It just happened. We work together and are some what similar. We are calm. If you know anything about ICU nurses that is not the norm. We work 12 hour night shifts. During the long hours when we are not so busy we have become friends. I have learned a lot from him like when you sit down to eat, you really should eat from the same bowl. You also should not talk while eating but we always break this rule. It is his culture so I eat with him. People passing through do give us a funny look but I am oblivious to that. He talks of his village where he grew up. He tells me of his mom and dad. The mom who still worries about him being so far away, the son who according to her has become nothing but skin and bones. But her son will be rich when he returns, and he will return. He will be rich because they are so poor. Poor according to our standards but rich in life, rich in happiness, rich in family. He tells me of when he was a boy and walked or rather ran 12 miles to school. He went to school not because he had to because most of the people in his village never finish high school. He went to school to become better. He talks of running through the forest and hunting monkeys for food. He tells me how they did not have guns but were agile with sticks and stones. They were held by an honor system and respected the other members of his tribe. He shares stories with me of how he played in areas where the orangutan play freely and how they will whip you on the bottom like a child if you get to close to them. I hear of how to trap food, of how it is to watch a village execution of a man for stealing some else's cow. Of how he watched as a large spike was driven through the mans head. I said to him "Sistern, you don't steal do you?" He looks at me and assures me that he doesn't steal. Not that he would anyway cause he is just a good guy. He tells me how to get snakes out of a tunnel and how to outsmart the wildlife that will soon be lunch. From him I have learned so much, but most of all I have learned what it is like to have a friend. A friend that crosses age, and gender, and race. A friend to be valued forever. He has invited me to kill the cow at his wedding. Kill the cow when the only thing I have ever killed is a mosquito. Oh course I will travel to Gambia to kill the cow. After all, shouldn't we do anything for a friend, my friend, the one from far far away, the one from Gambia, Africa.

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