After a long 40 hours of travelling, I finally arrive in The Gambia, my home for the next 3 months. I’m warmly welcomed at the airport not only by my whole support crew but with an interview that will air on national TV! Wow, I felt like a superstar! (If I knew, I probably wouldn’t have wore my PJ pants and I would have put a little bit of mascara!)
The next day, Yankuba and I travelled to Essau to attend Pa Modou’s baby christening ceremony. In The Gambia, parents wait one week before naming their baby. On the 7th day, they finally reveal the name and throw a big party where everyone is welcome. Pa’s daughter was named ‘Mama’ and she is adorable!
But to get to Essau we have to take a ferry, or a sketchy wooden boat should I say! And to get to the boat we need to be carried on a guy’s shoulders, which cost 10 Gambian Dalasi (30 cents). Loved it! At Pa Modou’s compound, I get the chance to talk to numerous of his family members and friends while drinking attaya (very sweet green tea). What a great afternoon!
Back in Fajara (little village close to Banjul), I go back to my hotel room which is a located in a lovely little resort beside the ocean! After a short swim and another yummy Gambian chicken dinner I’m off to bed to get some rest before tomorrow’s big day!
Today started with a press conference at the Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA) office where Abdou, Pa Modou, Yankuba and I talked about the Love4Gambia run. The NSGA is presently working on having more visibility around the country to promote the run but also their health education programs. The organization has been improving a lot in the past few years, long live the NSGA!
Then we all got ready for the long drive to Basse (at the other end of the country). The trip is about 370km but takes around 5 hours. To my great surprise, the highway to Basse is fully paved and very smooth! What takes time are the military/police checkpoints at the entry of every village and of course herds of cows and goats crossing the road once in awhile! But my guys are really entertaining so it made the trip very enjoyable! 🙂
Now that I’ve seen the route we’ll be running on for the next 17 days, I’m more than ready and excited to face the challenge starting tomorrow! Yankuba, Pa Modou and Modou, let the Love4Gambia 2015 run begin!!