Problems of Travel – A long days’ journey
During the week concern universal took us on a two day trip up country to see some of their projects first hand. On the way up we discovered just how difficult it was to travel from one side of the river to the other. After getting up at five in the morning to ensure we were near the front of the mass of cars and trucks that seemed to be the Gambians ‘organisation’, at the ferry we had to wait for 7 hours before we got across to the north bank. This was because of the disorganisation, the day before when none of the ferries had travelled from the Port we were at and that unfortunately one of the ferries broke down that day which when it arrived finally to the south bank we were all horrified to watch an ambulance with sirens on drive off it. The main roads as we travelled in the jeeps up country we found out to deteriorate the further we travelled, quickly leaving the tarmac roads behind and struggling not to hit our heads on the roof of the vehicle and avoiding spilling water all over each other every time we hit a bump. This part of the journey took about 4 hours although the distance, if we’d been back in the U.K, would normally take around an hour to travel. Without these roads and the ferry ports being improved the infrastructure of the country cannot develop.
Njawara Agricultural Training Centre
Overnight we stayed at a Njawara agricultural training centre. The N.A.T.C was established in 1990 with the intention to train young people and adult farmers in helping to improve their villages farming techniques. Their goals include contributing to food self-sufficiency, enhancing the livelihoods of rural communities in The Gambia and helping to empower farmers. By training four farmers from every village and introducing seeds to the villages that take less time to grow and produce more yields is just one of the ways the N.A.T.C plan to reach these goals. The training at the centre includes practical and theory work as well as being given business schooling, unfortunately the demand for this training is greater than the supply the centre can give. The N.A.T.C also runs and manages many of the projects we had seen around The Gambia during the week including SMILE and GGIGS these help with such things as providing wells with covers to help decrease mortality rates and easing the amount of walking the farmers must do.