Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Musa, Postal Carrier, Madrona

Musa Mansa: If you live between Union & Marion Streets in Madrona, you probably have met your mail carrier, Musa. He’s famous for his infectious high spirits, his remarkable energy and his strong work ethic. 

Anything is possible here.

He was featured in the The Madrona News after being knocked down a staircase by a neighborhood dog. This accident not only shattered his arm but the hospital stay meant he had to forfeit his non-refundable ticket home to The Gambia to visit his large family. While the owners of the dog never acknowledged the injury, others in our community got together to help refund the price of the air ticket.

Musa on his Life and the Central Area:
“I was born in The Gambia of West Africa. I left to go to University in New York City and I thought once I landed that everything would be fabulous. Life was going to be fantastic. Instead I came to understand life was difficult, to afford my schooling I needed to work too. I found a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a Nursing Home. It became too difficult to work and attend school so I changed directions completely. I moved to Seattle and then signed up for the Armed Forces. I wanted to go for the toughest thing, the biggest challenge so I signed up for the Marine Corps. I like a challenge.

It helped me grow as a person. I learned self-discipline and hard work. Discipline is the key to surviving and doing well in the military, learning to take orders whether you like it or not. They determine your promotions based on your work and how well you make decisions. If you make the right decisions and guide yourself to be successful, they reward that. I don’t know about other divisions of the military but in the Marine Corps your proficiency and conduct creates your success.

I was sent to San Diego for boot camp and stationed at Camp Pendleton. I attended MOS (Military Operations Specialized Training) at Camp Lejeune and then went to the combat theater of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. I received an Honorable Discharge.

After my military service, I had to decide where to live. The crime rate in New York was too high and I didn’t like that. I’ve lived in a lot of different places both in the States and in the world before I came here. I went to North Carolina and have traveled to visit family in Texas, Chicago and Boston, then Seattle. The Pacific Northwest is one of the places I like the most in the country. I came back to Seattle after the military because the people are very friendly, they communicate with each other, and the crime rate is low. The air quality is good and it never gets too hot. That’s why I stayed here. I really like it here. I don’t mind the rain, the air is fresh, the people are friendly and it’s also a great place to raise a family.

So, I moved here and found work as a mailman in West Seattle. Now, I’m in the Central Area and my route is the heart of Madrona. I walk through the neighborhood every day, so I know it well. I’m here from early morning to dinnertime; it’s a second home to me. I feel safe here. Everyone has embraced me here, so this feels like home.

In Madrona the people are super nice, it’s fantastic, full of wonderful people. I get to know many people in the neighborhood through my work.  I know everybody, all the kids and in my experience it is a wonderful place. There are lots of great places to go and sit together, to have coffee or to eat at St Clouds, there’s the wine bar, you name it. Everything is in the community so it suits everybody.

I don’t really know the history of the neighborhood, as I don’t really have a chance to ask. When I first came here I used to go to Thompson’s Point of View and Deano's. Those places were wild. I looked at that party scene and was glad I had made good decisions for my life. From those days to now, you see so many big changes, lots of development and structural changes. The Safeway building wasn’t even there.  With development the market changed and that changed the Central Area.

Living here is very different from where I grew up in The Gambia. In America, if you have a goal, are mentally and physically prepared and are ready for the challenge then anything is possible.  You have to work hard, though. But in Gambia, the vast majority of people are living in great poverty so it’s very tough. Even if you aim for something there is no opportunity for you to achieve it. It is virtually impossible to actually accomplish what you want. Anything is possible, though, here.”

[Musa was chosen for this project as he's our mailman]

©  Madeline Crowley People of the Central Area 2013   All material is covered by copyright. Express written permission must be given for any copyrighted material on this page. Email to request permission to copy or paste materials. 

This project was supported in part by
4Culture's Heritage Projects program

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About Me

Seattle, WA, United States
I am not a professional photographer nor a trained journalist. At community meetings, it became clear that many of us don’t know each other. We haven’t heard each other’s stories and don't know each other’s circumstances. This is my attempt to give a few people the chance to tell their story, to talk about our community, to say their piece in peace. As such, comments have been disabled. The views and opinions expressed here are those of each narrator and do not necessarily reflect the position of views of the CentralAreaComm.blogspot blog site itself. The is not responsible for the accuracy of any information supplied by narrators of this project. All interviews have been edited and in places condensed.

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