My name is Elisabeth Jessop. I was an intern in Bamako, Mali on the Malian Presidential Campaign for Yeah Samaké. Little did I know, my time in Mali was just the beginning. I quickly grew close to the Samaké family and became very dedicated to the success of the campaign. I was in Mali when the military coup occurred last March and was evacuated a week later. After leaving Mali, I continued to work on the campaign: sending email newsletters (yes, that’s me), answering emails, and raising support in the U.S. Now, as we blaze through the final 111 days of the campaign, I am leading our efforts in the U.S. as the North America Campaign Manager.
And this is why #isupportyeah.
Those who meet Yeah love him immediately. He has a glowing smile that radiates through the room. He is full of energy, life, and passion. He is PASSIONATE about serving his country and his people. He is a genuinely good man working to truly make a difference. I want to be like him. He has the strength to overcome anything. He lived in the United States for about 10 years before returning to Mali to become mayor of his hometown…how many people leave their home country, come to America, and return? Very few…honestly, I don’t know if I would return to Mali after being in the States. I love the people, I love the culture, but for one, it is SO hot! It’s a sacrifice. But Yeah will sacrifice anything to help his people. He’s dedicated to a cause. He is truly concerned about his country. He amazes me.
He isn’t like other politicians…
For one, he’s honest. Always. He’s transparent. I can ask him anything and everything and he will give me the facts. He is not corrupt. In fact, he is doing all of his fundraising in the US to avoid corruption…he has no foreign interests or large donors in Mali.
He has a big heart and a big head…he is not in any way egotistical but he is very intelligent. He thoroughly thinks through the issues at hand before suggesting a long-term solution. He’s very sympathetic and compassionate towards everyone. He never acts like he’s better than others. He is so genuine. He never gives up and he is full of optimism and excitement. Oh and did I mention that he never even makes fun of my bad French? He only encourages me to keep doing my best. Yeah never wastes an opportunity. One of the most valuable things he has taught me:
“Have you ever been opportunity knocking? Explore – you don’t know what’s out there waiting for.”
I am ambitious but this incredible man has encouraged me to reach above and beyond the stars in places I didn’t even know existed.
He has achieved so much. Like I said, you can read it all over the web, but let me just say that as mayor, within 3 years, he increased the tax collection rate from the initial 10% to 86%. The people trust him. I have seen it myself first hand. The people of Ouélessébougou LOVE him. He has brought lots of water pumps and electricity to villages in Ouélessébougou. He has built many schools. As mayor, he governs over 44,000 people. Look at what he has done in 3 and 1/2 years! What could he do for the 15 million Malians during his 5 years as President? I can’t wait to find out!
Not only is Yeah a talented, genuine, big-hearted politician, but he is an incredible father and husband. He is always looking out for his wife and children. He’s a family man – and I admire that. I have nothing but good words to say about the Samaké family. They are incredible and they are working together to help change the future of Mali – a quick shout out to his wife, Marissa! She’s amazing.
When I first was offered the opportunity to go to Mali, I felt unsure. The opportunity to work on a presidential campaign was not appealing to me. But, after talking to a few friends who had met Yeah Samake, and had nothing but good things to say about him, I decided to dive right in. It was one of the best decisions I made.