02 February 2018
1st and 2nd February
An early start saw us at Gatwick at 06.00. The plane left more or less on time and we had a very quick flight down to Banjul. We were helped along by the north wind that had been blowing in England that day and continued all the way down the Iberian Peninsula and into the west coast of Africa. It was a cool (by Gambian standards) 24 centigrade (75 Fahrenheit for those who prefer it), and all the Gambians we met on the first day were complaining about how cold it was!
We were met at the airport by our Gambian agents, Wandifa and Abdoulie, but this time no Yankuba. He has returned as a waiter at the Atlantic Hotel which has recently reopened after being closed for about two years and “refurbished”. We will of course see him when he is not working, but it will be strange that he won’t be with us all the time.
Off to the hotel to settle in, unpack and have our first Julbrew. We followed this with a good meal in the hotel restaurant and then an early night.
After breakfast on Friday morning we were picked up by Abdoulie and Wandifa and headed off to Gambia College in Brikama to sort out the details for the two microscopy workshops we will be giving next week.
En route we stopped to buy some honey. The National Beekeepers’ Association of The Gambia have a roadside stall where they sell local honey. It really is the most intensely flavoured honey I have ever tasted. I suppose it must reflect the different nectar of the wide variety of Gambian flora. We bought bottles for friends in The Gambia and a few bottles to take home.
At Gambia College we met Nakulang Ceesay, Head of Science to arrange the details for the workshops. We will be having the same excellent laboratory as last year. We are also hoping that the Science Club will clean it to the same high standard as last year. We also finalised and paid for the catering for the breakfast and lunch we will have provided.
We followed this with a short visit to Baba, Wandifa’s brother whose sponsor had some gifts for him, and then to Fatoumata’s compound who is hoping to go to nursing school later this year.
We finished our day’s outing by going to Karamba’s compound. Karamba is going to the Hotel School in the summer to undertake a three year course to become a professional chef. He told us he helps with the family cooking, something quite unusual among Gambian men! We spent some time discussing cooking, including how to cook the perfect fried egg and make the best fried egg sandwich!
Back then to the hotel. This evening we are meeting Linda and going to Mama’s restaurant to have their wonderful fish buffet.