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My first experiences in Gambia

I'm glad I got to see it on site.

My first experiences in Gambia


I didn't regret it. Not while I was there and not when I was back home.

Two large suitcases with donations from friends and the kids from my school and soccer equipment from my club arrived with me at the lodge.

Kerstin and Grandpa welcomed me and that very evening my calendar showed me when and where we would be. The school material is divided up between the three schools with school gardens that we will visit. During the short visits, I was not able to grasp exactly what is taught at the schools (I have never met a Gambian who has a solid grasp of basic mathematics). However, it was very clear how the women's gardens function and what “value” they represent.

Cherno's school and gardens, which are more or less a one-man show, leave me amazed. It is clear to see that the gardens are run with heart and mind. He really deserves the separate appeal for donations and I quickly learn that it is important to find people you can rely on.

Soccer shirts and boots!!!! A big hello to Kitty's team. Now they look great when they can play in uniform jerseys. I'm going to organize supplies for them, because they also want jerseys with long sleeves.

The highlight in terms of temperatures, unusual events and adapting quickly to ad hoc situations was our trip to the Nordbank. We got up so early that we saw the sun rise at the harbor in Banjul. The ferry, which is probably regularly overloaded, the loading and unloading close together, fascinates me greatly, but everything happens completely without aggression. Then in Barra we have goat meat from the newspaper for breakfast, or alternatively goat meat in tappalappa from the newspaper. It tastes good!

By pickup truck towards Jinack Island, an island of 15 square meters with 5 villages, two of which are in Senegal. There are naturally protected mangrove forests, we discover oyster fields from the boat and watch a small crocodile crossing a mud hole from right to left.

The village elder, who we picked up on the way, shows us a large area where he imagines a women's garden. The villages' main source of income is not future-proof, as the land for cultivation is becoming increasingly saline and unreliable marijuana dealers cannot be sued if they do not pay for the goods they commission. The conditions of our association and its ideas are aligned. Hard communication work for Kerstin at 40 degrees in the shade. Grandpa is also challenged.

Next stop. We drive to a large, well-cultivated garden. The contact had been calling Grandpa a lot recently. Why? A fence that is just eight months old, financed by the ChildFund Foundation and made visible with a large poster, is already broken again after such a short time. We tell the young man to get in touch with Childfund. This organization has to rework if they have installed the “wrong” or inferior fence. According to the young man, the problem is that the project is finished for ChildFund and there is no longer anyone to contact. What a pity for the great garden. Unfortunately, we can't help in this case.

At the end of the stay, time is almost running out. There is still a lot on the list that will have to wait until next time. But there will be a next time and Grandpa is the additional sustainability guarantor, which in my view clearly sets “Hand in Hand” apart from other projects or organizations.

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