FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF GAMBIA AND ONLY FIRST IMPRESSIONS

If you read my last blog post, you’ll know that we got evactuated from Gambia after being in the country for less than 24 hours. As we spent so little time there, the only opinions we got to form about the country were based solely on first impressions. My idea of the country may be far off from the reality as it takes a while to get to know a country but this is all I know of Gambia.

People are extremely friendly. There’s a reason it is known as the smiing coast of Africa. Every single person we passed offered a warm smile, a hello, asked how we were and offered their assistance. After showing us to our room, we bumped into the same hotel worker again who gave us a behind the scenes look of the hotel. He showed us where the crocodiles climb up from the river to sunbathe on a morning, he told us about the monkeys who wander the hotels grounds, he showed us where the staff cooked their meals, he told us about different points of interest and he showed us where the women wash the towels. Just in the hotel grounds there was a lot of culture and a lot of nature which we wouldn’t have seen exploring the grounds ourselves, we got to know Gambia a little better that way.

People are a little too friendly though. As nice as the guy was to show us around the hotel grounds, he also offered to take us to a crocodile park and invited us for dinner with his family. As warm as his gesture was, it was a little too much. We quickly got the impression that we would not get to spend a lot of alone time exploring as everyone was always trying to help you and show you things but I like to explore at my own pace.

Money makes the world go round. Being a poor country, money is everything. From the second we passed through immigration, we had constant offerings of services in return for money. After a few people have unneccessarily helped you out and you’ve handed each of them coins, it gets a bit frustating to be constantly offered help in exchange for money. I understand that this is how they make their living but being independant, I didn’t want their services and being an introvert, I felt a bit overwhelmed by their constant bombardment.

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The weather is perfection. 33 degrees even in the middle of winter but cool on a night so you don’t have trouble sleeping. That’s my ideal weather!

Everyone is equal. The country is made up of 75% Muslims and 25% Christians but they all live in harmony. You cannot decipher one from the other and there is absolutely no animosity between them. The country is also made up of nine tribes, all with their own language but every tribe speaks English to be able to communicate with others and with foreigners. Coming from a country where very few people speak a second language, I find it incredible that they are all taught to communicate with other tribes and nationalities. As much as the world is progressing with discrimination, it is still strongly present so seeing a country live in such harmony is beautiful.

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Everyone is incredibly proud. The people we spoke to were so proud of their country and it was inspiring to hear their stories. They are also very proud of their work. They take their jobs incredibly seriously and it means absolutely everything to them. In a country full of ‘bumsters’ trying to makes ends meet selling goods and services on street corners, I think people in employment feel incredibly proud.

It’s lucky lucky men gone wild. After living on Spanish islands for the past two years, I am all too familiar with the so called ‘lucky lucky men’ who set up shop on street corners and along beach fronts trying to sell you knock off goods but in Gambia it is absolutely everywhere and constant.

I didn’t get to see or experience a lot of Gambia but I got a feel for it. As wrong or right as it may be, it’s how I see Gambia in my mind from the limited time I was there.


All opinions are my own and just that: opinions. This blog post is not sponsored or endorsed in any way.

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