On Tuesday November 12th I arrived in Gambia on Titan Airways after a very good flight that was on time and fantastic food. The downside was it was double the fare of Thomas Cook.
We took the boxes of machines to Redcoats in Surry two months before I was going. They should have arrived in plenty of time before I was to come but they arrived on the day I got there. There is only one docking area now in Banjul.
It was good to see Sarjo and the three children waiting for me at the airport. When we got to the house we opened the boxes and found one of the machines had been dropped in the ports which meant one of the villages would only get one machine.
The next day was sorting out the money and taking it to the bank and the following day we set off in our friend’s taxi to look at some of our projects to see how they were getting on. We delivered some pencils and chalks to a school and carried on to the next village where the women wanted us to see how well they were doing with their tie and dye (see last Trek Report) They are doing very well in deed.
The rest were cooking our lunch
Every women’s group has a garden but many of them need fencing. The animals push down the wires and eat whatever they can find. They wanted us to help them. Unfortunately fencing is very expensive and we had to say no.
In their garden
We decided to go to Soma for the night as it is the best place to get a good sleep.
Our next village was Tintiba. We came off the main road on to a narrow winding track. Six miles later we reached our destination. All went well with the handing over and we had some very nice food. It was a small poor village and we asked about the children’s schooling. Just then they all came into the compound after walking the six miles from school. Amazing!
On the way home we took a few bags of rice to Karror and looked to see how the poultry was getting on. We started them with broilers but now they have egg layers. They sell their eggs to the villages roundabout.
When we got back to the house there was an oldish lady waiting for us. She had come from a very long way on a bush taxi to see us. Their village had clubbed together to ask for three solar driers. It was a large village but most of them were starving. We couldn’t say no after coming all that way. She stayed with us until late afternoon having had a lovely dinner and good news for the village.
Two days later we went to Banjul to catch the ferry to the North Bank. Our plan was to give some onion, aubergine and okra seeds to a Women’s Group we visited a few years ago. When we got there , there were no women - so we went back. A nice gentle day. (Kayaborr got them instead)
Coming back from the North Bank
Next day we went to Gunjur on our way to the river to see how the fishing was going. First of all we stopped in the women’s garden to see how the sewing machines and solar driers were getting on. They were doing very well and they were happy to see us.
When we got to the beach it was packed with boats and fish. Unfortunately they were all bonga fish with lots of bones in. The Chinese had got all the best ones with their factory ship out at sea.
Salting the fish
On our last day we went again to the school where the tie and dye were having their final lesson. It was very impressive. The colours were unusual and looked very good. They were very pleased.
I have always said that Karror is one of the poorest villages in The Gambia. The couscous failed again this year due to no rain then too much of it. The water table is very low so they can’t have a women’s garden. My idea was that a drying frame might be useful. On the main road there is a market every day. Lots of vegetables that don’t get sold during the day can be bought very cheaply. The ladies can then buy them up at a reduced price and dry them. Also when the mangos are in season they can sell the dried fruits and sell them later. We brought along some okra to show them how to dry them and we left them all having a go on the frame. We also gave them chicken, rice and vegetables so the village could have a celebration that evening.
We are the only charity in the Gambia giving solar driers for free and we are known all over the country for it. They cost £70 to make because they are made from mahogany and solar plastic. I have given Sarjo enough to pay for 16 frames for the next four months.
A drying frame
As it was my last day we celebrated on the patio with a lovely meal with Abie, Sarjo, the three children and the four sponsored children who live in the compound. It was a nice end to my stay.
I came home the next day. It was one of the most productive visits ever.
Thank you for reading this and all the support that you give to the Kabafita Fund. I would also like to say a BIG THANK YOU for all the work my daughter has done to create a new website and another BIG THANK YOU to Rodger Swaine who has looked after it for ages. I hope you enjoy it.
Barbara and Sarjo's Trek Reports and experiences.