"NATURE OF THE GAMBIA: palm wine days" Top 5 Page for this destination The Gambia by David&Pauline
The Gambia Travel Guide: 724 reviews and 1,434 photos
The Gambia is an easy doorway into Africa; the people are so welcoming that it makes your passage easy. Please remember that you can leave as deep an impression on the Gambians as they do on you. If you do leave your phone number then expect that phone call, that plea for help and be prepared to give.
We’ve just returned from our latest visit to the Gambia, which was a mixture of highs and lows. It was lovely to see all our good friends again and to especially see the progress at Bakary Sambouya School and clinic. We take our hats off to Sue Currant and her Kambeng Trust for her continued commitment to this project. George Jatta very much needs some help to fund his YAMGAM project, Youth Against Malaria in the Gambia. Unfortunately he’s had a huge set back before he starts, the family compound was destroyed by flood water, during this year’s extended rainy season. Anyone who has followed our web pages since 2001 might remember the happy times we’ve had there. It was heartbreaking seeing them living in the ruins, with all their furnishings destroyed. Anyone who feels they might be able to help George and his family should email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any help or suggestions would be very welcome.
YAMGAM hopes to make every compound in Kotu township malaria proof, ideally by building cement walls, rather than mud brick but at the very least providing treated netting for every bed and providing mosquito coils. The grand plan would be for volunteers to spend two weeks in each compound, doing as much as they can, while being fed by the family and housed in a nice hotel within the township or on the beach. Please get in touch with George if you think you might like to help.
Don't be afraid to leave your Lebanese owned hotel and meet these lovely people.
It's December 2010 and everyone is still missing our good friend Abraham Mbye killed in a traffic accident in the first week of June 2003. He was possibly the friendliest, most loving person we have ever met; it breaks our hearts to think that he is no longer in this world. He was the same age as our daughter Esme with a long happy life in front of him. He had a wonderful appetite for life, a wicked sense of humour and a confidence that he would be a successful footballer, he had played for the Gambian team. We think it's safe to say that he did enjoy every moment of his short life and could teach us all how to make the most from adversity. He was a natural peacemaker and worked tirelessly to heal quarrels between people, a true harmony loving Rastafarian. One of our last memories of him was on Kotu beach at three in the morning singing, "I want to go back to my roots" to the beat of a makeshift drum. Abraham, you've had your wish, Jah has taken you back to your roots. Our lives are richer for knowing you but very empty without you out there to visit again.
It’s took us five years and a lot of travelling to find the strength to come back to this wonderful country. We haven’t been anywhere where we’ve felt more helpless, these people need so much and we don’t have enough to give. We took with us about 20 kilos of school books, toys and footballs. We even wore oversize clothes with books in the pockets but so much more is needed. We discussed many ways that we could set up joint enterprises, if we could find the initial investment but everyone understood that we are poor by European standards. However, that statement is a cop out of responsibility, by Gambian measurement, we are rich! We have travelled by local transport from Serrakunda to Brikama, on to Gunjur and Kartong, finally pitching up at one of the Gambia’s holiest sites, Sanneh-Mentering in Brufut. Here beneath a four hundred year old Baobab tree we went through the cleansing ceremony and drinking of the holy water, before being left in the “Seeing Room” to find our answers. There, sat on animal hides we emptied our heads of the weight of responsibility that we carried from our comfortable home and tried to see this country as Africans. Within a few days our perceptions did start to subtly change and we began to see small things that we could do to help. Until this moment we found the bigger picture an overwhelming canvas of apocalyptic proportions, reminiscent of John Martin’s, “The Great Day of His Wrath”, now we started to see a series of miniatures. If we can paint these little pictures, one at a time, one day we might have a great exhibition.
- Pros:The Gambia restores your faith in human relationships and makes you look at your life values.
- Cons:The poverty makes some people hassle you and not let you go. The answer is to go with them and risk finding if they can be true friends.
- In a nutshell:Poor but Happy!
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