Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Tales from The Gambia (Part Three)

Well, here is the final instalment of my adventure!

On the Wednesday we went to Brikama, the second largest urban area in the country. Today was a demographics exercise, where we split into small groups and attempt to map the population of the town. Each group was given a different area of the town and instructed to visit different compounds, asking who lived there and what amenities there were.

Turns out everyone's definition of a compound is different! Number of inhabitants ranged from 4 to 30 people living in one compound. Some thought a compound was one building, whereas others a whole mini community.
We hopped on the bus and briefly visited the Brikama craft market. We were treated to a drum performance (even my lecturer Martin joined in) and a little dance!

I'm always up for a dance

In the afternoon we did get a little downtime... Our group joked that vacation hours were strictly between 4 and 6pm; two hours in the day which were geography-free!

Showcasing our beach volleyball skills...

Thursday was my final day of fieldwork. It was the most important day for my degree as we had an assessment based on our work over the day. Again, we were split into small groups and sent to different villages throughout the country. My group was dropped in Kimo, a village a few kilometres from the Senegalese/Casamance boarder. The Casamance region has faced numerous years of conflict in an attempt for independence from Senegal.

 St Joseph's gardening project

 Coundon Court, a local Cov football team donated 5 teams worth of football shirts

The school visit was so much fun! As the only white girl in my group, all these littlies were yelling "Toubab!!" (white person) at me; fighting to hold my hand, pulling at my hair, bracelets, clothes, anything they could get their hands on. It's a moment I'll never forget when 95 nursery school children came charging at me just to say hello!

This parrot was a pet!! He was so tame.

The brief of the day was pretty broad. Our presentation guidelines were to research the village in any way we liked and then to present a project idea which an NGO (charity) could develop to aid in the development of the village. We designed our project around a previously failed women's garden initiative which had failed because of a lack of sufficient fencing and a reliable water supply.

When the hard work was finally done, we managed to squeeze one proper night out in The Gambia (lecturers and all...)

We never found out what was so hilarious... 
 On a more materialistic level - my dress was £4 from Coventry's Cancer Research and was originally Monsoon!

All in all, my time in The Gambia was simply amazing. It was much more than I expected it to be and was so inspiring. It's made me want to graduate and get out there and start working on local projects and making a difference to communities out there!

Congratulations if you made it this far, I know it was a lengthy post!


Jo said...

I know I've said it before but I am so so jealous, it looks fab and actually really interesting too. Makes me wish I did a more practical degree rather than just read books all my life and become boring haha (: xx

EilidhPie said...

I can see why you want to hurry up and graduate - your trip looks like it was amazing! Such a brilliant thing to be a part of! Your Gambia posts have been so interesting; thanks for sharing! Xo

Vix said...

It looks utterly brilliant! Love the cheeky monkies! xxx