Before education comes bonding
Education is the key to freedom. But before education comes bonding!
During the first year of life, an infant develops an emotional attachment to its primary attachment figure. This attachment ensures the infant's survival and development. The attachment figure is "the safe haven" for the infant (or rather "baby carrier" - attachment research today clearly defines that humans belong to the baby carrier species). The experience of reliability and caring, especially during the first two years of life, has immense influence on the healthy further development of the young person. Since time immemorial, this sensitive window of time has marked the birth of the next child.
While in Germany and many other Western nations children are being cared for by strangers at an increasingly early age, the awareness of the original needs of babies is still naturally present among the Gambian population.
Experiencing Gambian toddlers is always an impressive experience: They are able to follow the instructions of their parents and teachers calmly and with concentration, they wait their turn as a matter of course, no matter how long it takes, they are incredibly inquisitive and helpful, they tirelessly practice the tasks assigned to them without giving up. At the same time, they bubble with energy, scuffle with each other, and fight over a coveted toy like all other children in the world.
Gambian mothers breastfeed their babies and carry them in a sling usually until the birth of the next child. What else contributes to the fact that Gambian children can comprehensively develop social behavior, as we often wish for our German children? What can we learn from Gambian families about bonding?
This is a question of personal interest to me, which I would like to pursue in the coming years with the help of the wonderful opportunities offered by our direct eye-to-eye contacts with the Gambian population, and to contribute to our country.
Claudia Assmann-Bach, 1st Chairwoman
"When the children are small, give them roots. When they have grown up, give them wings" (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)