#Love4Gambia – March 13 Update
Later start today; the hotel made us a nice packed breakfast but wouldn’t provide it before 5:30am. We snuck into the breakfast buffet and grabbed some porridge, bread and fruit before the staff reminded us that the buffet wasn’t open yet! We drove through bustling early morning food markets and bus depots until we got out of the city and reached the quiet village where we disembarked yesterday. We set off with Luke sporting an SJ-cam on top of his helmet. He spoke into the air non-stop-riding his bionic runner; it must have been quite a spectacle for Gambian passersby!
At 9:30am a man invited us into his compound for breakfast as we stopped for a water break. We thanked him, declined breakfast but stopped in to see greet him and his family. His wife brought out a beautiful one-month old twin girl and then brought out the other twin. This poor baby had a very large head because the fluid naturally produced in the brain had no place to drain to, a condition called hydrocephalus. She also had a defective lower spine and spinal column, a condition called spina bifida or meningomyeocele. They showed us her medical records; this was correctly identified at birth. Unfortunately, the treatment can only be done by a neurosurgeon so they were sent home. Fortunately Pa Modou is a member of an NGO, Funds for Hope, that arranges for care for children in dire need; he will raise this baby’s situation this week with the organization to see if there’s any way they can help.
The environs changed from rural to suburban. The vehicles became more common and less concerned with our safety, sometimes within a metre of us and sometimes one on the right shoulder while another passes by on the road to our left! Big trucks spewed black smoke so voluminous we could not avoid inhaling it even after holding our breath. Our eyes were on the road all the time and Mario made sure we stayed close the shoulder. We reached our 50 km destination and stopped, relieved that we had survived the traffic. Today was not the pleasant ride through rural Gambia. Our reward was a swim in the ocean and a nice lunch.
Afterwards, Pa Modou Sarr of the NSGA, Luke, Joanne and I went to AfriRadio 107.6 FM to the interviewed on the “Chillzone” by Danny Constant and Mariama Colley. These two dynamic Gambians host this popular afternoon show of music and talk. We had a lively discussion about the Love4Gambia campaign, engaging Gambian youth in society, and important topics for youth including prevention of HIV/AIDS, healthy relationships and issues of consent around sexuality. We could tell that Pa Modou is clearly seen as a youth leader in this country, and were very impressed by the engagement of these three young Gambians in issues of such importance to the country.
We then went to an African restaurant, famous for its domoda (meat stew with a groundnut sauce), had a tasty meal then went back to the hotel.
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