Friday, October 30, 2009

So yesterday was my 20th birthday! Kaitlyn was super sweet and bought me a cake!! I had a really great night, they made me cards, and then we had cake. We went out to Fransicos a local restaurant, and then we went dancing. Everyone was really great to make my Gambian birthday memorable, so Thank You!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Tourist

Today, we went undercover as tourists in Senegambia. We paid around two dollars to use the beautiful beach side pool at the Senegambia Hotel. It had a fountain, diving board, and a swim up bar. It was quite a surreal experience. Toubabs were everywhere! It is disappointing to think that the majority of the European families that we saw today will never leave Senegambia to experience the true Gambia-with its poverty and friendly citizens. I imagine the situation as a form of neo-colonialism, repeated in tourist centers across Africa. After leaving the pool, Laura and I went to a Thai restaurant. The food was delicious! Tomorrow we head upcountry to Tumani Tenda and back to reality. Being a tourist was fun, but only for a day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bansang field trip

These are pictures from when I went upcountry to Bansang. Kaitlyn was supposed to come, it was a field trip for Environmental Management, but she fell ill the days before we left. We went there to learn about regional environmental issues. We visited the water treatment facility for the town of Bansang. It was slightly discouraging to see the poorly treated water go out to the village. The water had a high iron content due to the well, and that was being filtered out by sand and gravel. They had the equipment to treat the water with Chlorine gas, to kill the bacteria, but it has been broken and out of use for three years now. It was very interesting to see the Gambian students question the processes and the environmental and health impacts. I hope they will put all the information they have learned into action. We also explored the town and took ferry rides.
Unfortunately Meredith got food poisoning and we had to take her to the hospital and leave a day early. She is all better now, so do not worry. Kaitlyn is also feeling better!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beach Days

We love to go to the beach. These are some pictures from two of our favorites. The top is Fajaro, it is more of a tourist beach area. It has wonderful hammocks and larger waves. The second is Sandplover, which I haven't seen a tourist at yet. It is so relaxing and there are no waves.
I just returned from Sandplover and it was a lovely time. We sunbathed, read, and went on a long beach walk. After we shopped for gifts at the Bakau crafts market. We found a lot of great things!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The World Cup

The President declared Wednesday a half holiday (afternoon off) because the World Cup was in the Gambia.  Not the games, just the cup.  We went to the national stadium (with about 5,000 Gambians) to see it.  We were there almost four hours.  There was singing and dancing and musical performers.  The entire army was there, complete with machine guns.  I believe that every child in the greater Banjul area was in attendance.  There were women selling peanuts and orange flavored ice cream in plastic bags.  After about three hours, the president arrived with the cup.  His entourage drove around the track twice, throwing boxes of biscuits into the crowds.  There was a whole group of people running after him.  Many of them passed out, as it was over 100 degrees.  And then, just as the president was about to make his speech and present the cup, a gigantic storm blew in.  Everyone left quickly.  It was so windy, you could barely open your eyes.  I was covered in dirt and trash picked up by the wind.  And it dropped like forty degrees in a matter of minutes.  Just another typical day in West Africa.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

African Dancing

A cultural dance troup came to sing, drum, and dance for us on our roof. We learned some sweet african dance moves since they had us dance with them!