I met Ousman when he was a young child in 2006, when I was dropped off with three other volunteers after a 2-hour dusty, pot-holed–ridden drive.When we finally arrived at the small village of Sare Samba, Ousman and his family were the first to greet us. Ousman instantly became my buddy as he, with his gentleness and curiosity, helped me to feel more at home.He was to be my namesake and friend who helped me navigate this home away from home.As wide-eyed as I was in this new land, Ousman was equally taken by his new far-flung, temporary family member.He and his brothers couldn’t wait to touch this new stranger and shuffle through his odd belongings.I could tell from our first meeting that Ousman was a bright, ambitious, and kind child.Ousman was an observer, following me around everywhere, trying to understand my place in his village. After I left Sare Samba I knew Ousman would succeed. Currently, Ousman has been admitted to the University of The Gambia but is having a difficult time covering the expenses his studies, and I’m asking for help to get him through four years of college.His family continues to contribute what they can, but it’s unfortunately not enough. Ousman is working on his developmental studies to improve and contribute to the same village I arrived in so many years ago." -- Returned Peace Corps volunteer Dave Strefling
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