Agnes meets her African namesake

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A third generation Agnes, who broke tradition and named her own daughter Kirsten, has had a Gambian baby named in her honour.

Agnes Stewart, who is the driving force behind Campbeltown Grammar School charity CGS4Gambia, was ‘very humbled and absolutely over the moon’ when she found out that the newborn infant would be named Agnes.

Hours after little Agnes Sainabou Njie was born at 11.10pm on January 2, in the Gambian village of Kalagi, her parents Alex and Jankey sent Ms Stewart a message to inform her.

In Gambian society a naming ceremony takes place eight days after the birth of a child and is known as Ngente.

The name is traditionally kept secret until the occasion, but Alex informed Ms Stewart of the baby’s moniker straight away.

Alex has assisted CGS4Gambia with painting on various trips to his village and neighbouring Jarrol, where much of the charity’s work is carried out, to say thank you for ‘helping his people’.

Ms Stewart, a support for learning assistant, said: ‘Alex had always thanked us profusely for helping in the villages of Jarrol and Kalagi so this is a spectacular way of saying thank you.’

Baby Agnes has two older brothers, five-year-old Modou and Bakary, two. She has a different mother to her brothers as, like many men in Gambia, Alex has two wives.

The extended family lives together in a large compound in Kalagi, the first village CGS4Gambia visited in the country.

Ms Stewart met baby Agnes for the first time last month, when she was in the country from February 11 to 18.

‘I saw baby Agnes twice during my week in Gambia but they were quite short visits as Kalagi is a two-hour trip from where I was staying,’ Ms Stewart said. ‘We were also dropping off donations with the other villagers.’

Ms Stewart’s mum, baby Agnes’ Scottish ‘gran’, has crocheted her a blanket, and many of her friends bought her presents.

CGS4Gambia and the Jarrol Project, with which it works closely, also donated gift bags with vests, sleep-suits, knitting, nappies and clothes.

Ms Stewart said: ‘I am not sure how common it is for babies to be named after people but there are definitely two baby Fionas, named after Inveraray’s Fiona Nelson from the Jarrol Project.

‘It is an absolute honour to now have a little Agnes – I look forward to seeing her again soon.’

Agnes Sainabou Njie.
Agnes Sainabou Njie.