Monday, February 11, 2013


Starting to reflect on the last two years, we realize that it’s been really good, sometimes bad, and above all - different.  Of course these past two years in Gambia will be thought of often as we return to our lives in America.  And at the moment we can’t wait!  However, I have a feeling that once the power, hot showers, delicious food, and family and friends become a normal occurrence in our lives again; we’ll think back to our time here in Gambia and miss it.  Whether our accomplishments are big or small, they are certainly different from our American ones so I wanted to share them: 

Planted 150 fruit trees in schools
Primary school Library
Successful and sustainable women’s cooperative
Achieved advanced level of African tribal language
Communicated daily with people who can’t speak English
Ben’s high score of 20,202 in snake
Kate successfully learned how to pickle  
Navigated local transport to 3 other West African countries
Watched Megafauna in East Africa
Read over 100 books including: Game of Throne series, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, the Good Earth, and various Hemingway,
Survived two years with no significant illnesses or accidents
Taught classes to numerous Gambian students
Learned how to live cheap, real cheap
Lived in the African bush!
And the best one: we made friends from all different parts of the world
Learned how to bee keep
Bike in sand – (don’t mock until you’ve tried it, its not easy!)
Our cultural adaptations – food, etiquette, endurance, ‘okayness’ , humor
Ability to hear the differences between African accents 

More seriously though, the volunteers we served with did a lot of awesome things and projects.  I can’t begin to describe how difficult it is to get things done in Gambia; it is inexplicable.  The 25 people in the group that we came with did some amazing things in our time here and 6 people are extending their time! Here are some of the accomplishments of our group: 2 womens community gardens established, 3 live fences, 5 school gardens, 2 womens health groups, 2 solar water systems, 3 wells, beekeeping training, garden trainings, cashew tree trainings, and a community pit latrine project.  And that’s only what I can come up with off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more.  We’re real proud of group and what we’ve all done in the past two years!

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