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Gerti Bosch for the first time with Hand in Hand e.V. in Gambia

Unfortunately, two weeks of the Gambia project trip are now over and we are preparing to say goodbye with tears in our eyes. Being with the people, being able to walk part of the way with them and their culture, enriched our lives a lot.

Gerti Bosch for the first time with Hand in Hand e.V. in Gambia

Gerti Bosch

The situation in The Gambia is very difficult. There are hardly any jobs and even if there are, it is not enough to feed the family or pay the school fees. The political situation is extremely difficult - the elections are coming up and we can only hope and wish the people that things will develop positively.

People are living in extremely harsh conditions and it is a constant struggle to eat at least one meal a day.

How nice it is for us to be able to support at least a small proportion of the inhabitants with this project. The field in Kitty now has drip irrigation with a well - borehole - solar pump - and a long pipeline. Only in the course of time does it become clear how much effort and work goes into making a project like this work. The African mentality cannot be denied and so deadlines are cut, materials are difficult to organize, experts have to be found... It is hard to believe that the field can be used in this way after 1.5 years and we are incredibly happy when the first drops irrigate the orange trees. This means that only about 40% of the water is used, yet continuous moisture is ensured and planting is also possible outside the rainy season. This in turn leads to a much higher yield.

We agree that the project approach in agriculture is a very good way of helping people to help themselves. With water as a basis, people can plant and harvest. Any surplus can be sold and the proceeds used to buy essentials such as rice and medicines.

Grandpa (our local manager) can now irrigate the banana plants in his compound to such an extent that they grow very large. They are now in high demand on the market and the proceeds from their sale serve as a basis for the 10 compound residents.

We have to completely lower our European expectations. Learning by doing” is the way to reach many people, because hardly anyone can afford training and afterwards there is no ‘job’ like here - the exception is probably nursing or teaching.

We simply have to start thinking. So we also visit various schools and realize that it is first necessary to support blackboards, school furniture, secure toilets or wells - if possible with work orders on site to create jobs.

Our approx. 400 pairs of spectacles have been delivered to the eye clinic and Buba promises to distribute them free of charge.

We are very impressed by the beekeeping in Brikama - Bee Center National Beekeepers Association of the Gambia. The production of honey and a medicinal beeswax cream has already reached a high level and a high status in The Gambia. Unfortunately, American imported bee colonies have mixed with Gambian colonies and developed into aggressive bees. The basic training to become a beekeeper takes two weeks. We hope that we will be able to train a contact person to include beekeeping in our project.

The sponsored project bus is proving to be a great help. With Grandpa at the wheel as driver - you can get your driver's license much faster in The Gambia than in Germany!!! - we can get to our planned assignments without complicated cab organization or expensive fares.

We can also experience and share the joy of life by dancing together. Whether to the drum rhythms of the professional Mama Limbu group or Bob Marley reggae in Sene Gambia or on the beach next to the “Karavan”. We have a lot of fun with the Rasta boys and Resi-Aminata two makes everyone laugh.

To finish off today, I'm looking forward to another dance session - Kuku, a West African dance that is the basis for every drum event.

We would also like to mention the “Half Suns” campaign by Elke Dartsch and her kindergarten in Rathenow, which moved us to tears. Money was collected to buy orange trees for Kitty. We are now symbolically attaching a self-made heart with a name and photo to the orange trees in Kitty for each kindergarten child. It took us three attempts to photograph 29 trees! But we are happy to do it after hearing what thoughts the children develop. They think about the children in Africa in their everyday lives, tell their parents to be careful with food and try to eat fewer oranges themselves so that the children in Africa have more of them. This valuable work makes even our youngest children aware of the living conditions of Africans. Dear Elke, thank you very much for this wonderful project.

Our suitcases are empty, the precious seeds are distributed among families and friends, the glasses in the eye clinic, but also the used football boots for the boys who help on the field in Kitty. People are very grateful for things that we seem to take for granted.

Many thanks to everyone...Grandpa, Kerstin with her tireless efforts and her great knowledge, both professionally and about culture and mentality, and to all our friends in The Gambia!!!

We hope to see you again soon!

Abaraka bake - Salam aleykum....Thank you very much - peace be with you!

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