The Gambia has succeeded in changing the perception of the reality of every one of us that have been there.
In my case, I have been going for some years and every time it surprises me and gives me new experiences and moments very difficult to forget.
I remember that the first trip flying Barcelona-Banjul was full of questions, inside my head there was an immense need to know for what reason Weste”rners have this desire to help, why Africans could not do their path on their own and a long etcetera of questions that apparently had no answer. It seemed that my excitement to arrive and getting to know was overwhelming. The truth is that once landed I started to understand already so many things and most of the questions did not need a technical or coherence answer.
Seeing the rhythm of life of Gambians, their way of doing and their sympathy I was able to understand it all.
Another important trait of the trips to The Gambia is the human team that accompanies with you, a strong bond is created and that happens in every trip and with people that have gone more than once, people that have gone for the first time… the experience it’s not the most important thing, what it really counts is the desire to heighten and be filled by the experiences. It’s hard to explain with words, it must be lived!
To explain a trip of these dimensions is not so easy since most of the sensations that I felt when I traveled to The Gambia cannot be described so easily. Then, if I had to choose between the best sensations that I had during the two weeks that I was in African lands, I think that I keep, as typical as it sounds, the feeling of disconnecting from the typical western routine that surrounds us and the enrichment as a person and the privilege of meeting wonderful people that currently are great friends.
But all this would not have been possible without the UNOMASUNO+ team since as Jean Jacques Rousseau says, there is a big difference between traveling to see a country or traveling to see villages and in my opinion this difference was what made my trip so special since to get to know well a culture you have to live it and thanks to this NGO I was able to understand the real Africa and heightened myself with it.
This picture could have been taken anywhere in The Gambia or Senegal.
In all its streets you could breathe a lot of peace and harmony until, suddenly, a soccer ball appeared in the distance…At that precise instant, about 20 children (as if coming under stones) appeared ready to play for a while.
What was most surprising was that they all played barefoot and with a suffocating heat in the environment…
All of them with an incredible smile as comparable to mine, enjoying sport as a passion and forgetting for a moment of absolutely everything else.
They were incredible sensations the ones lived in that village called BEREFET (The Gambia).
A thousand thanks to “Las Cabañas del Notas” for hosting us in their facilities for the whole week.
At the beginning it caused us some respect, but the desire and the excitement we had won out over everything. July 13th then, Africa was waiting for us!
All throughout the trip the look of the children touched us. Their hospitality and their desire to talk to you, the candies they asked for and tons and tons of smiles!
The second week, which we were at Jombong Bantang Ecco Cultural Camp, at Berefet, it was like being home! Hours and hours of talks like if there was no tomorrow at the harbour that Luis had set up a few months before we arrived and the little boat that would take us to Touba Kolong, the little town where the NGO has the project. How cool! All the boys and girls from the town came running to welcome us, the day was just starting! The women showed us the gardens and the new irrigation, the new water pump and all the produce from the land, it could be seen the happiness in their face! A good breakfast, reception from the mayor and of course, without stopping playing with the little ones!
That was just a little part of our trip to Africa. A great experience that left a great mark on us and a lot in what to think. They had just little, but they were happy!
For sure that it will be the first time, but not the last that time that we'll put our feet on this country!
Georgina and Maria
I have chosen this picture to describe the experience that I lived during those 15 days because it describes what I felt. Besides being a trip that filled me sentimentally, emotional and socially, it helped me to know myself a little more, it helped me to sensitize myself and be aware of the reality in which I am living different from them. Kids help me to be myself, they take out all the sweetness that I have inside myself and they take my sensitivity and the desire to transmit everything that can help them to have a better future. Infants make me grow and those in The Gambia taught me a lot. Thanks to their barefoot but grinning from ear to ear, I learned to value and to love non-stop every minute and every second day to day of my life and to continue fighting for my dreams of being a teacher for the kids that need it the most.