Saturday, 18 February 2012

At the start of the week we had our employers workshop where we all met either our employers or colleagues, depending on was sent. I got the Director of Education for Region 6 herself! She was very positive and told me all about education in the region and the various projects that are being introduced and are ongoing. I am really excited about it all and eager to get up to Basse to start my placement. We drew up a 3 week plan for when I arrive up country, which is something to aim for at least. Although whether it will actually happen is another matter as this is The Gambia!

Our cultural and language training has now finished and I am pleased to say I passed my language assessment with 99%, so am now fluent in Mandinka!! (Perhaps not). Next week begins our motorbike training – Oh goody! Slightly apprehensive about it (Mum stop reading now!) They can drive quite erratically over here. The main requirement for a taxi appears to be a cracked windscreen, helpfully held together with multi-coloured sticky tape!! They also at times drive towards one another then veer off at the last minute. Can’t wait to get out on the road – not! 

Last night, our very nice, night watchman, Omar, made us some Attaya, Gambian sweet tea. Gambian men sit around in the shade, greeting each other and conversing away whilst brewing the tea. It is amazing to watch it being prepared and a skill to make. It is incredibly sweet and thankfully served in little glasses, so can’t have too much. It’s no wonder the Gambians have such a sweet tooth if they all drink this every day.

Today, we had some luxury and treated ourselves to an afternoon by the pool at Coco Ocean Hotel, Gambia’s premier resort! It was very nice, but don’t get too jealous as I will soon be in my round hut with no hot or cold running water and very possibly a pit latrine for a loo!


  1. Glad you're having a wee bit of luxury before heading for the country! Take care, Jan x

  2. Our experience of driving on murram roads in Uganda was similar to what you describe about Gambian practice, Eleanor, whereby all drivers follow the best line to avoid the potholes no matter what side of the road they're on. However, when a vehicle was seen approaching from the other direction, you would both indicate, signalling that you'd seen each other and that it was your intention to switch back to the correct side of the road before your vehicles actually met! It worked quite well. Trust you enjoy your motor biking. Love. Keith