In memory of Dr Lenrie Peters
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Please allow me space to share with Gambians my memory of our departed brother. It was on the 27th of May that the sad news arrived in Norway, that Dr Lenrie Peters had passed away.
The Gambia has lost one of its most brilliant sons. His sisters have lost a beloved brother. And our association: Literate Instruction For Everyone (life), has lost its well informed and highly respected adviser. Some 23 years ago my dear friend, Dr Lenrie Peters, drove me back to my hotel in his car. When the car left, the watchman asked me: "Wasn't that Dr Peters?" After I had replied he continued: "Do you know that he is number one in The Gambia?" I agree! He was the number one! 24 years ago, when we were looking for a suitable house for our first nursery school in The Gambia, he offered us his compound in Fagikunda for free. Later he sold the compound to our association at a very low price. That means; for some years Dr Lenrie Peters was the Rex School's biggest sponsor.
He was indeed the father of Rex School project in Fagikunda, where 23 years now, some thousand children had got their first education in a proper school, without paying any school fees. In addition, some of the children had enjoyed free treatment from him when they fell ill. Twenty years ago we expanded our school project to Brufut, where today, there is a nursery as well as primary and senior secondary schools. Dr Peters has all these years been our counsellor who kept an eye on the schools in Brufut and Fagikunda. Without him there would not have been any of the mentioned school projects.
It is probably well known in The Gambia that Dr Peters had been involved in many other educational projects. For example, he was the chairman of The West African Examinations Council from 1988 to 91. The Gambian university project had also got his attention. Students had received scholarships from him both at home and in foreign countries.
Dr Peters is known as The Gambia's leading writer. Anyone who visits the internet will find some 700 pages where Dr Lenrie Peters is mentioned and his authorship is praised. All his poems will for years be a 'treasury' for the present and the coming generations. In the future many young boys and girls will get tears in their eyes when they read: 'Isatou died'. For the last two years he was working on a new novel, but it was hardly ready for publication before he fell seriously ill.
His main profession was surgry at Westfield Clinic. The hardworking doctor was not only known to be a well-trained surgeon. His precise diagnosis was also widely known. Lenrie's mother was a competent pianist who in their home used to play for guests and family. His sisters and brothers loved her music, and the happiest memories from his childhood were the afternoons when the children sang to their mother's piano accompaniment.
Listening to opera and classic music was in all his life his favourite hobby. Lenrie himself had a good singing voice and during the study years in England he was a member of a chorus, and even contributed in a hobby opera. After he came home he for some years also was a member of church chorus in Banjul.
When Dr Peters some years ago was asked how he would like to be remembered by the society, he answered: "If they remember me at all - it is just that I try to do the best things to help the people of The Gambia, and to leave the world as a better place than I found it." He was the man number one!
Author: by Lill Vedal Annfinn Thuv