Gambia Goes Robotic
Here is Ebrima's account for this experience:
The human life is full of successes and setbacks. Whenever a setback occurs, a person should learn from it and move forward. We were five motivated teens representing The Gambia in the First Global robotics competition. We were chosen from leading schools nationwide: three boys(me, Alieu Bah, and Sellou Jallow) and two girls (Khadijahtou Gassama and Fatoumata Ceesay). Each of us was an important part of the team. We didn't really care about winning. The fact of participating was already an accomplishment no matter what happened. Every day was a challenge for us, and we pushed ourselves. The fact that we were all so excited and putting so much effort into it made us a better team.
Using our ingenuity, we were able to create a robot, even through we had no background knowledge of robotics. The assignment was to build a robot which would remove contaminants from water. We had been given a robot kit with many possible parts. We had to program it to perform its function. The judges ranked all the entries with the best at the top. The Gambian entry ranked 77 out of 163 countries. The United States ranked 155. Russia ranked 149. Conference officials told us the rankings were not really important. The purpose was to learn how young leaders can come together to solve demanding world problems.
Participating in the competition was a big opportunity for each of us in regard to our knowledge and exploration of our engineering skills. our mentor, Mr. Muchktarr Darboe of the Gambian Ministry of Higher Education, was always with us. He inspired our creativity and our perseverance. He knew how to engage us and encourage our self--worth. We send im out thanks. How was the team able to work successfully?
Each of us had different skills. Individually we could not put them to use. We found that by collaborating we could solve problems. We worked hard. We listened to each other's creative ideas. We always tried to make another happy and we didn't usually get offended.
Our first application for U.S. visas to attend the conference was denied. The BBC and other news organizations wrote stories about this. Our second attempt was successful. Participating in this competition was a unique opportunity for us to honor our country, to make the Gambia proud of us.
-‐-‐ Ebrima Marong