Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tales from The Gambia (Part Two)

Day three of my fieldwork was looking at farming projects. We visited Sifoe Farm and The Lifebread Project.

Sifoe was an initiative to help farmers earn a fairer wage by providing them with ways to diversify; bee keeping, solar power for example.

Sustainable farming is a huge priority. 

 This clever contraption was boiling water. Sifoe also had a solar cooker where they baked CAKES!

I also managed to buy some Sifoe honey and a pot of beeswax moisturising which worked a treat on my mozzie bites.

After lunch (and very late a la Gambian time) we headed off to The Lifebread Project which is a women's run garden. Again, farm diversification was a huge element as this not only generates more income but helps to improve diets.

The ladies welcomed us with singing and dancing (as you can see I was pulled up to dance). I got to dance with the president of the project no less!

Our bus driver was asked to clamber up his vehicle to grab us some melon to take home.

Day Four was the most exciting by far!

Meeting the head of UNAIDS for The Gambia

I went to the United Nations!! We spoke to the head of UNAIDS. In 2007 the president claimed he had a cure for AIDS, which has scuppered any other chance of HIV prevention in the country. The UN have a hard task of keeping out of his business, if he keeps out of theirs. It's simply a matter of biding their time where the UN hope they can step up their awareness and prevention programmes.

We also visited the Gambian Press Union, which as I said in my previous post freedom of speech is banned. No doubt being a journalist is one of the hardest jobs in the country and many journalists have been exiled or imprisoned. This was particularly relevant to our day as the issue of healthcare (in particular HIV/AIDS) is a very sensitive subject.

Next were visits to private and state health facilities. A British business had invested £10,000 and their man power to build the state hospital a new kitchen...

Here's the old one...

The new kitchen even has fridge storage, something the facility has never had before.

Finally we presented the state facility with some money which had been raised by students who had been on the same trip back in January. It was amazing to see that even a small amount of money will help them so greatly.

There's still more to come on my Gambian adventure..!


EilidhPie said...

This sounds like such an amazing, eye opening trip! Xo

Vix said...

What a great read! Love the idea of a women's only garden and utilising nature with solar power.
On a more fickle note, how incredible is that waxed cotton that the Gambian's wear? So gorgeous. x