Fanta Jallow, 30, from The Gambia, has never known her mother, whom she says is from Kenya.
She grew up wondering how her mother looks like and yearning for her love and affection but she has never known where to start searching for her.
“I strongly feel that my mother is somewhere, only that I have not been able to meet with her for the past 31 years. I believe that I will soon find her,” she says.
Her Gambian relatives have been telling her that her mother is Kenyan from the Coastal region, specifically Mombasa.
“I was told her name is Marie Suware although I am still not sure about her surname,” she adds.
According to the information Ms Jallow has managed to gather, Ms Suware met with her father, Pateh Jallow, a Gambian, in Germany in the 1980s.
“They later got married while in Germany in 1988 at a small town known as Ellingen before they relocated to The Gambia,” she says.
Left with grandmother
Ms Jallow was born in 1989 in The Gambia but she says she cannot remember seeing her mother.
“Growing up, I cannot say that I ever saw my mum, she must have left for Kenya while I was very young.
“During that time, my father moved to the United States of America and the only person I could recognise who was close to me was my grandmother,” she says.
Ms Jallow says she has no idea why her parents separated and no one, including her father, has disclosed any information to her.
She observes that even though her grandmother took up the responsibility of being a mother figure in her life, she has always felt the urge to meet and know her mother.
“Every time I think and remember how growing up without my mum has felt like. I would rather choose to be disadvantaged in any other way but not to live without a mother’s love and protection,” she says.
Ms Jallow notes that efforts to trace Ms Suware’s contacts and any leads that may result in their reunion have been hindered by lack of support and finances to travel to Kenya.
No information from father
“We are very close with my father but every time I ask him about my mother, he does not want to talk about it. I understand that they may have had their differences but I feel I need to connect with her,” she narrates.
She states that at some point, she felt the urge to give up the search but something inside her keeps pushing her even more. The only thing she has, which she can use to identify her mother, is a picture of her and her father when they were still very close.
“She looks young in the picture, but I know her family members in Kenya can still recognise her if they see the picture. I just want to connect with her,” she says.
Being the first born among three other siblings, Ms Jallow does not get to feel the experience of a family setup since her father and the entire step-family live in the USA.
“I communicate with them regularly and they know that I am their elder sister. I love them as my own and I am happy for my father,” she notes.
She concludes, “Mum, wherever you are, just know that I hold you close to my heart. We may not have had a chance to bond and know each other but I recognise you as a very important person in my life. You brought me to the world and I will forever be grateful. I miss you and really want to meet you some day.”