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Travel report from Maggi and Philip, April 2019

Our spontaneous holiday alphabet

Travel report from Maggi and Philip, April 2019

Maggi and Philip

Abaraka bake

Mandinka for „Thank you“.


Brush Brush Brush

A song in English that we used to teach schoolchildren in Sanyang how to brush their teeth.



Nuts/kernels found in The Gambia, which we roasted, cracked, shelled and savoured.



Slightly spicy dish based on peanut butter. We ate it with poultry or fish. It was served with rice. Delicious!


Donkey cart

Still a widespread means of transport in The Gambia.


Fish factories

Fishmeal factories run by the Chinese contribute to the exploitation of the country. The fishmeal produced is used to feed pigs in China. The chemicals are discharged into the sea and there is a lack of food in The Gambia.



The central theme of Hand in Hand e.V. and an indispensable basis for a wide range of other projects and the creation of sustainable aid without dependencies.



Ubiquitous in the interior of the country, with temperatures sometimes exceeding 40 degrees, sometimes almost unbearable.

International exploitation

Everyone takes advantage of the Gambian people and their land. Often much to their chagrin through overexploitation, overfishing, poisoning of the environment and much more.

Jammeh's legacy

Jammeh is the former autocratic president of The Gambia, who fled into exile with his state assets, leaving behind a divided nation.


Virtually sacred in The Gambia and quite impressive. Good to watch in the Kachikally Crocodile Pool.

Children's eyes light up

The joy you can bring to children with little things like a sweet or a balloon is impressive.


Ubiquitous in The Gambia. Animals on the roadside sometimes feed on packaging waste.


The basis of everything is often in short supply in The Gambia, and this is precisely where Hand in Hand e.V. comes in. 


The local manager on site with good connections.


Everywhere on the roads in The Gambia. There are controls every few kilometres where the police officers want to be bribed.

Chatting (on)

You are often approached in a very friendly and interested manner and can learn a lot about people.


The Gambia is predominantly Muslim, with Christianity being the second largest religion.


Due to the drought most of the time, it is everywhere and it really gets into the smallest cracks and feels like it is in every single pore. Even several weeks and washes after travelling, some clothes are simply impossible to get clean.

Tanka Tanka

Bush taxi that takes people from A to B (often full to the roof). 

Support for independence

The aim of Hand in Hand e.V.. Helping people to help themselves so that they can live self-sufficiently.

Responsibility instead of education

A child's life in The Gambia cannot be compared to that of a European child. Children often cannot go to school because their families cannot afford the school fees or the children have to help at home or at work.

Wollof, Mandinka

two of the largest ethnic groups represented in The Gambia. Grandpa is a Mandinka.


In West Africa there is the ‘balafon’, a traditional xylophone-like instrument (also traditional among the Mandinka) with resonating calabashes hanging below the tonewoods.


(Slightly) spicy dish that we ate with poultry or fish and rice. In addition to the spices, numerous onion slices are added to the broth, which is acidified with lemon juice. It is simply delicious.


In The Gambia, time is a topic in itself. Many people wear watches, some can even read them, but despite this, German punctuality is hardly widespread there and even Grandpa had to be painstakingly trained by Kerstin. 



What do we take away from our stay in The Gambia?

Our two weeks in The Gambia were characterised by sun, sun and more sun. They were characterised by great experiences with nice people, fresh and delicious food, beautiful nature and nice people. They were also characterised by many ambivalent impressions.

On the one hand, most people in The Gambia have so little that it is hard to imagine being in their situation as a European. On the other hand, most of them are much friendlier, more open-minded and more positive than many of our fellow citizens at home.

Nutrition and education are just two of the things that are lacking in the country. Another huge problem is the fact that many nations behave unfairly towards the Gambian people and their country (and many others) and continue to see it as a self-service shop that can be robbed of its resources and whose environment can be successively destroyed as if it were completely meaningless.

We are living in a time of globalisation, but we are behaving in an increasingly selfish and self-referential manner, thinking anything but globally. It seems as if a part of humanity has stopped reflecting on its actions. We exploit entire nations and close our eyes to the fact that our prosperity is only built on the suffering of others. We seal ourselves off, build walls and wilfully let people drown so as not to be ‘harassed’ by the losers of this development.

The Gambia is a beautiful country with a lovely population that so deserves a better life.

In addition to these impressions and great respect for what Kerstin Gebhardt has been able to achieve with her organisation and its members in recent years and the commitment and perseverance with which she has driven forward project after project, despite all adversity, we take with us the good feeling that the organisation is really making a difference in The Gambia and is actually improving people's lives.

Our rucksacks are also full of gratitude. Gratitude that we were lucky enough to be born in Europe without having to do anything for it.

Most of the ‘problems’ that we struggle with in our everyday lives, or what we label as such, often lose a lot of weight when you think about how many other people in the world have to eke out an existence and how good we have it here.

Anyone who doesn't want to make the world a better place out of charity should at least do it out of self-interest, because climate change and the refugee crisis prove one thing very clearly: the world is a sphere and everything we do on this sphere will come back to us at some point!

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