What we can learn from the Gambia
Updated: Apr 29, 2019
In between our packed schedule of summer ‘Key to the National Curriculum’ school visits, we’ve realised our annual trip to The Gambia is creeping up fast! The visit which this year takes place at the end of November 2018 will be our 25th trip! (we started in 2000 with undergraduate student study visits). We’re looking forward to seeing old friends and colleagues again and can’t wait to introduce new faces to the Gambian way of life.
Each year we take a new group to visit the country’s cultural sites. We explore the Bakau Fishing Market, Serrekunda, Banjul Markets, the colonial capital of Banjul (including the Banjul Gateway) and take a mangrove cruise along the River Gambia backwaters. It is from here that we source our authentic global teaching resources and come up with new innovative ideas to help teach Geography through a place. For example, the Serrekunda ‘Key to the National Curriculum’ worksheets are based on our visits to the markets and workplaces in Serrekunda. Our African kettles and many of the artefacts in the African Locality Resource Pack are supplied by Fatou, a trader in the Bakau market.
Gambian people are so welcoming and always one of the highlights for both us and our fellow travellers is sharing a meal in a Gambian family’s compound which always has a lasting effect on those lucky enough to experience it. The food is always amazing and you can be assured of a very warm welcome!
Working in the education sector, for us and the teachers within the group, a key part of the experience is visiting local Gambian schools to investigate the Gambian educational system. It’s a valuable part of the trip to see what the children are learning and the different approaches they use. We stress the importance of shared learning experiences; we do not encourage charitable donations per se. This is because the work we do in school is based on the exchange of ideas between fellow professionals, charitable donations upset that relationship; visitors become donors and the Gambian teachers are recipients.
We get to witness some amazing projects too. We take Gambian pupils to visit the MyFarm project, whose strap line is from “Seed to Business”. Children and our party learn about making soap, cooking with solar power, using biogas, and micro-agriculture. We are looking forward to see the progress MyFarm have made this year.
On the other hand we visit the kaolin and laterite miners at the Bafoloto quarry, a moving experience that brings home the harsh realities of living in a developing country.
Talking about her Gambia excursion last year, Claudine from School Signs said:
“B&C have extensive knowledge of The Gambia and clearly worked hard to ensure that our group left with a true and lasting impression of the country, its culture and its welcoming courteous and friendly people – an unbelievable and thought-provoking life experience.”
We love introducing teachers, colleagues, friends and family to African culture first hand and have built up a unique network of Gambian colleagues in schools, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), Gambia and the General Secretariat for Arabic and Islamic Education, and amongst the local people of The Gambia. If you’d like to experience it for yourself and enjoy a life changing trip, please contact Des or Pam on firstname.lastname@example.org for a full itinerary.