Essa has equipped the refrigerator with my favorite staples, Diet Coke, Vimto, bread, eggs, cheese, water, bread and margarine to name a few.
He has purchased the bottled water needed for the entire trip. He goes to the bottling company and as a result received a good price for the cases of bottled water. There are 15 cases of water lining the hallway with several sitting in the refrigerator getting cold.
I am spoiled. Essa does an excellent job getting everything ready prior to my arrival so no time is wasted doing routine household, maintenance chores.
Today we set up the QCell wireless system so that I can send/receive e-mails and access the Internet from The Gambia. We also purchase calling cards so that I can make local and international phone calls.
For dinner, Essa’s mother made Benechine with chicken, one of my favorites!
Finally I arrive in The Gambia – in fact, ½ hour earlier than scheduled. I look around at the throngs of people getting into either the ECOWAS passenger line, a Gambian Nationals Line or one for All Others – I am in the All Others line for customs processing.
I completed the required form while on the plane so I am ready for processing, passport/VISA ready.
Passing through customs I meet several baggage handlers eager to get my business. I select someone I don’t know. The man I am used to working with is not on duty today.
We locate my bags – the multi-colored strap around my bags makes identification a breeze. I only wish I had taken a picture of all of the travelers, baggage handlers, security folks present so that you could see how chaotic it seems to me now.
After collecting my bags, and going through screening I enter into the airport lobby. No Essa. I start to feel that sinking feeling and wonder if he forgot me.
A man gently tugs at my shirt – it is Lamin Camara, an Airport Security ID Unit from the airport. He says he has been looking for me since the plane set down. Essa is on his way I am told. Ah, the feeling of peace.
We sit down and I order a Coca-Cola, Fanta and a Malta for Essa. He does arrive at the airport in short time and we enjoy a beverage together. The plane between Dakar and Banjul did not serve water or juice so I am thirsty!
On to greet the family in Banjulinding. As a Gambian custom, it is important to greet the family before starting your business here. Actually it is one of my favorite customs..family first, then business.
It is late, about 9:45pm when we arrive in Banjulinding (which is near the airport) and greet Binta Badjie, Essa’s mother and the rest of his family – brothers and sister.
We talk and I share my stories about traveling from the USA to The Gambia.
It is about 11:30 pm when we get to Y2K, a self-contained flat in Latrikunda, where I will stay for most of the 2 weeks that I am here. We have reserved a two bedroom flat. There is a kitchen, dining area, sitting room equipped with electricity, television, generator back-up and a good security system.
I get to bed about 1 am. Exhausted, but happy I am finally here.
Ready to travel to Sea-Tac Airport – 2 full suitcases weighing roughly 50 lbs each, a carry-on bag and my purse. Cristina and Gerry help me carry my bags to the United Airlines check-in desk. Noting that one of my bags is heavier than the required 50 lbs., we open it up and take out a pair of shorts (whenever have I worn shorts in Gambia??- and taking out a jar of peanuts) brings it into compliance.
Tomorrow I’ll be landing at the Banjul airport – officially named Yundum International airport since it is in Yundum and not Banjul.
From Seattle to Banjul the flight time is 20.25 hours with an additional “wait time” between flights a total 8.4 hours. No wonder I am tired!
Please come help us sort donations for sending a container to The Gambia in February.
Packing 10am-12 noon
Hansen Brothers Moving and Storage
10750 Aurora Ave N.
Seattle, WA 98133
Coffee and Donuts provided!
Dress Warmly – we are working in an open warehouse.
RSVP is appreciated 206-660-5826 firstname.lastname@example.org
On SATURDAY, Dec 7th, 2013 we will be having a
BOOK SORTING AND DONATIONS PACKING PARTY AT:
Hansen Brothers Moving & Storage
located on 10750 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133
Please come to the back of the building.
TIME: 10AM – 1PM
Pizza will be served!
BRING BOXES WITH LIDS.
The best boxes for packing items are liquor boxes.
Packing takes place in an open warehouse so DRESS WARMLY.
We need many hands as the container ships at the end of December!
RSVP to Shelby Tarutis by December 5th! to 206-660-5826.
FOR THE CHILDREN,
Tickets $10 Advance
Doors Open at 8pm
Presented by OPENHEART and
At The Barboza
925 E. Pike, Seattle, WA 98122
Featured Performances by:
(Little Hearts, Cali Giraffes)
Hearts Are Thugs
Exclusive Limited Edition
WEST AFRICA LIVE
experience the drumming, dancing, music,
food and magic of West Africa
A Festival to Benefit Children in Africa.
WHERE: Town Hall Seattle 1119 8th Avenue, Seattle WA
WHEN: Saturday, October 19th, 6:30pm
Featuring performances by:
Gansango Music & Dance Company
Senegalese percussionist Thione Diop
Kora masters Kane Mathis & Sean Gaskell
Mandinka drummers Modibo Traore and Bob Thompson of “Wulibaa”
For more information and to purchase tickets
You can also buy meal tickets in advance to guarantee
the plate of your choice
Proceeds from this event will go to the children in the village of Kerewan in The Gambia. We will be expanding a nursery school and developing a garden to supplement the children’s diet. Data indicates that this village has too few children attending school and many suffering from malnutrition. The community identified this project and we have come on board to assist them. The community is contributing 25% of the project costs as well.
Special Thanks to our Sponsors: Car Tender, Summit Law Group, Stanford, Munko and Co., P.L.L.C., Tarutis and Brunstrom, PS.
|Seattle-based kora player Sean Gaskell has toured throughout the United States, and been featured at numerous music festivals in The Gambia and Senegal. He released his first solo album “Kora Music of West Africa” in 2012.|
Modibo Traore and Bob Thompson of “Wulibaa” perform Mandinka and Jola rhythms and songs from The Gambia and Senegal. Traore, a drummer, singer, and dancer from Casamance, Senegal, specializes in the musical styles of the Mandinka and Jola ethnic groups. Thompson is a Seattle-based drummer who studies Mandinka drumming and singing.
Thanks to all for your generous support of GambiaHELP through Seattle Foundations’ GiveBig in May 2013. We made almost $4000 from this event! The donations from GiveBig will go toward the establishment of a nursery school with a nutritional supplementation program in the village of Kerewan. This is a Gambian village where the children are under-enrolled in school and who have been reported to be suffering from stunted growth due to malnutrition. These donations enable us to work on a very positive health intervention!
Thanks again for all your support!