What do you remember happened in Nioro? Tell us what you know, no matter how little it is. For example, Alkali Iya Bah was the first person born in the village. This is the kind of stories we need.
- 1950 Nioro was established.
- 1963 The Sey Kunda families migrated from Nioro to Sare Bittaye a village in Casamance .
- 1979 Student started attending class under a tent, a year later it was a built.
- 1980 Nioro got a its primary school.
- 1986 A storm hit the village, destroying many homes.
- 1986 Nioro had its borehole, the first in the Lower River Region.
- 1994 Nioro got its first telephone connection.
- 1995 The people of Nioro stopped using a fuel generator, and started using a new solar power to pump water from the borehole.
- 1995 The school was upgraded to Upper Basic School.
- 2010/2011 Academic year, the school was also upgraded to Senior Secondary School commonly known as High School
- 2012 The Lower Basic School got moved to the opposite site of the school and a new construction block of storey building was built. This first of its kind in the village and the district.
The first batch of student to attend western education from Nyoro were enrolled into Dumbutu primary school in September 1975 two whom went to high school and University. They are:
Musa Bah – (Author of the post)
Darboe Majo Bah
Sheriff Fatou Bah
Ahmed Tijan Bah (1976)
Maybe you can tell us what was the atmosphere like in those days about western education in Nioro. What were the motivations did they have to asked you or did you have to asked them to send you to school. It most have been a great sacrifice for both the parents and children. I remember there was a nice song we used to sing about a school boy – Ousman Pay used to sing it and that song sounds very motivating from the child point of view. the song; ‘Min ko me school boy Jamata marou chaka tew…..’
The events that transpired prior to our enrolment were never quite clear to me, I remember I was severely ill with conjunctivitis, however, from what I can recall, the then headmaster of the school Mr. Fatty came to Nyoro looking for more pupils to enrol into Dumbutu primary school which at the time was only used by Dumbutu and Batelling villages. The student numbers were very few to fill a class and I suspect this was the main reason why the headmaster decided to come to Nyoro, it could have been due to a government policy at the time as well, I am not sure.
As I mentioned above, I was not a party to the events that led to our enrolment due to my confinement with illness. However, from what was subsequently narrated to me, it appeared that the decision to enrol us was made at a meeting under the big tree of the banta in the old Nyoro were a discussion on the request of the headmaster of Dumbutu primary school was held. Only the Bah kunda agreed to his request and enrolled our batch.
This was a very difficult and courageous decision to make in those days because going to a western school was not accepted in a conservative torodo community, it was strongly frown upon due to the bad connotations associated with western education. I recall very well, the elders expressing fear of loosing their children to the world if they receive western education. Western education was associated with all the non-conformist behaviours that a conservative community like Nyoro detested such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes /cannabis eating pork and so on and so forth. Still to this day I do not know what motivated my dad to enroll me, because the subject was never on the table for discussion prior to him putting my name down and beside, I was a star pupil at the daara. Perhaps it was my attitude towards farming, I never ask him, anyway what ever the motivation was, I am eternally grateful to him for taking such a very bold and iconoclastic decision which at the time, would have been extremely difficult for him to make.
Most of us were excited but I can’t recall being part of the excitement, my attachment to my mother and the family was well known and the thought of going away to leave in a different community that speaks a language I hardly understood was quite overwhelming. Most of us like Mam Cherno and Bokarraye (Maali’s younger cousin who died few years ago whom I genuinely forgot to mention as one of the original batch members) were already street wise. Bokarraye was the eldest among us. I will never forget the slap he planted on my face on our first morning in class because I asked people to reduce the noise level, I don’t think he meant any harm but being the eldest among us and I the tallest, he wanted to show who is the boss and that was his way of asserting his authority. I bear no grudge, all forgiven. I don’t think he lasted longer than a week in Dumbutu.
By embarking on this long and treacherous journey, we had no idea what was laying ahead of us. If not for all of us but certainly for most of us, this was a rude awakening, we rarely ventured out of the secured comfort zone of Nyoro. On arrival in Dumbutu, we were allocated to our various guardians and luckily most of us were paired. I stayed with Sheriff Fatou which never lasted longer 2 weeks and I will return to that later, Buba Jobe and Dabo Manyo stayed together, Jabel and Mam Cherno shared the same compound, Yaya was alone and I have no idea what happened to Bokarraye. Anyway I too lasted for only two weeks in primary one, I couldn’t handle the new environment and I was missing my family in Nyoro too much. My recollections of those two weeks were full of emotions, fear and bewilderment. We were completely lost. We couldn’t speak the language and everything was just like a never ending nightmare. By the end of the two weeks, I have had enough, I went home and decided to stay and complete my Quranic study, a very plausible and expedient reason to give at the time. I stayed away and returned when my original classmates were in primary 3. I returned after the Christmas holidays in 1978, by then my original classmates were enviably fluent in the Mandika language but I was not doing badly either because whilst back in Nyoro, I attended the Arabic school in Sankandi for 2 years which helped improved my Mandinka language skill to a reasonable level to get me by.
On the whole the people of Dumbutu were generally very hospitable and kind to us. Our stay in Dumbutu was not plain sailing, it was difficult and to do well in our studies, we had to climb lots of hurdles along the way. I will avoid dwelling on the negatives because that will be unfair, comparatively however, those who went to Nyoro primary school were very lucky.
I am sure my batch mates will add more to my version of events.
Thanks for that insight about the first batch. We appreciate your effort. As Alpha suggested could you please give us some information about life as a student during that time.What was the community’s view about western education?
in addition to the upper basic details, it was established in 2001.
Thanks.Can you give us some details on that.
Did the sey Kunda migrated in 1963? or did they migrate in batches? I know I can remember one and I was not yet born in 1963. and for your information Mammy (mother of saidou Mammy and wife of mamaduyeh) has pass away some months ago. when they migrated i remember going there with Hamadi job to visit Ma Chaku (mother of Musa Chaku) and it coincided with the finishing of Mammy’s house and we took part in erecting a (lerreh) near her veranda
Actually you are right not all the Sey Kunda family left Nioro at the same time. According to reliable sources, most of the Sey kunda left Nioro 13 years after Nioro was established but there were few who stayed and followed later I can even remember the old Sey Kunda my self. But what is significant about the migration of 1963 is the re-establishment of Sare Bittaye because until before they left Nioro in the 60s Sare Bittaye was a ‘gente’ was deserted and no one was living there. There is still some families of Sey Kunda who are part of Nioro. Again we might want to discuss why did they have to leave Nioro? Musa Jarra in Sare Bittaye told us this story few years ago he seems to be very informed about this issues.
the dumbuto crew at one point included Jabel Dabhel and Alasan Nariye, cos of the language, we could not cope and have to leave. jabel spent about a year and Alasan f0r one term only
The story about the first people of Nioro going to western Dara as far as Dumbuto in the 70s is interesting and revealing a lot of things that were barely discussed among us. Some of the issues coming out on this topic so far was the strong willingness from the parents point of view to allow up to 10 children at that tender age to attend western dara away from home. This is an indication that the demand for western education has been in Nioro for sometimes – long before the establishment of its first primary school in 80s and this could explain why almost every school-age child was enrolled when the school doors opened in Nioro. With Ba Alasan’s rejoinder the main barrier to western education was not distant or cost but language. Ba Musa also mentioned about language being a nightmare.
We should continue telling the story about western education from Dumbuto to current Nioro Senior Secondary School…
actually the borhole was drilled and commision in 1985, the storm hits some five minute after the inspection of the small tank (work on it was completed the previouse day). the small tank in front of the mosque was one of the structures that came down, it fell exactly where the SSP inspector pack his car. he was considered the luckiest man
Great and keep it up
i am impress with you all and this serves as a flasback to those of you who most have witness this back in the days..i am from dumbuto though not born at that time but i still have role models from nioro the like of my batch mates lamin sowe,sheriff bah 2003 and my then course coordinator for banking and finance alkali bah MDI..2008.Alikalis mum is from nioro…keep it up all of you
In fact Dumbuto is highly considered as one the source for historical information for Nioro – the first generation of nioro student went to school in Dumbuto Primary School. It’s nice to see, collegiality this is still evident between us. We encouraged you Sankung to keep it up and your comments are well valued.
the storm happened on 17 July 1987