EUGENE, Ore. — The sound of African drums, like the heart, it’s a constant beat. The tatoo transports Eliman Gibba to Africa– to Gambia where he was born and where he and his wife planned to take to their daughter, Nima. At 11-years-old, her life was cut short.
January 2009. Nima was returning from dance lessons.
“I remember all the lights of all the emergency vehicles and then you kind of go into shock,” said Alex Gibba, Nima’s parent.
A drunk driver plowed into her teacher’s car at 11th Avenue and Bertelson Road. Two mothers and two children died upon impact, including Nima.
“It changed from that day on. You look at your life differently. Since then my life, our life is about continuing what we were trying to do with Nima,” said Eliman Gibba, Nima’s father.
Eliman and his wife, Alex, still traveled to Africa as planned. Instead of bringing Nima, they brought her possessions.
“Her toys, her books, her clothes and school items, and we gave them to family and friends in Africa,” Eliman said.
In the moment of giving, they found a way to overcome their grief by creating Nima’s Wish Foundation, a non-profit which provides clothes, school supplies and above all, funding for education.
“This is actual the second year we’ve paid their tuition,” Alex said.
Five children and one adult are benefiting from Nima’s Wish at this time and this is just the beginning. Eliman has a storage area packed with supplies ready to be shipped to Gambia.
This weekend Nima’s Wish Foundation is hosting its second annual fundraiser at Cozmic Pizza. More than 20 bands are providing entertainment over the two-day event. Children can learn african dance and drums.
While Eliman and his wife ache for their daughter, giving in her name brings joy.
“When she came, it brought light and that light was shining to this day. Nema was good. Nema was a beautiful girl,” Eliman said.
The fundraiser is at Cozmic Pizza both Saturday and Sunday. Family activities run from 2pm to 5pm. Music and entertainment are from 5pm to 11pm Saturday and 5pm to 10pm Sunday. For more information and ticket prices, click here.