Sukuta, The Gambia, January - February 2022. A return final trip that ended rather traumatically. Go to my Destination Africa community page for a full and colourful review. I was called back into action by Abdoulie who had remained in contact with me. Having discovered that the previous manager had left I felt it a good time to rekndle old friendships. Abdoulie invited me to stay with his family. It was a very sobering experience. Living in a room of a house with 10 other persons including a pregnant woman who was about to give birth was not ideal. But the new managers had given me a starting date to move into the farm and back to the old hut. I loved that place.
Meeting Abdoulie's family and his local village didn't change my feelings about African culture. Litter was piled up at the end of many streets and the simple solution was always to wait for the floods or occasionally burn all the plastic. The Gambia had its touristy spots and there had been minimal development since I had last been here. A big road construction project was underway. I was saddened to see a huge mahogany felled at the corner of a street. The biggest impact on me were the new buildings on MyFarm. It had become a major educational establishment now. Kelly and her children were gone. They had been replaced by Lucas and Becky who were doing an extremely good job. The volunteer building was highly impressive, as were the learning labs. But what impressed me mostly was the ecological pond which brought a spring to my heart. It was the last project I instigated in 2017. Five years was a long time in my life. I had gone gray but was no short of fitness.
I ran out of money towards the end. I was happy to be looked after by the managers, as Kelly once did. The highlights of this visit were the beach stops, the trip to Crocodile Pool, the cross-country ride to Georgetown and its celebration of the kankaran - animistic spirits, the day trip to Sherief's farm where we installed Abdoulie's new bee hives, and finally the construction of the bread oven. As I say go to the Facebook page for all the photos. However, I did catch the Corona virus on the farm, but I endeavoured with even more passion without a blip in my performance. I had also caught parasites in my gut. Maybe we should consider what a poor African has to endure and why I was encouraged to keep on working. In reality, the Corona virus had generally been and gone.
The trip was soured unfortunately by the authorities refusal to let me on the plane. I had refused the offer of a fake virus certificate, and Kelly had pleaded for me to stay. There was more permaculture work to do. The food gardens I built and seed nursery needed more instruction and time. And I was really enjoying getting to know the older students. I think I was worked too hard, driven by my enthusiasm and freedom. They threw a wonderful party for me at the end. Had my virus certificate came on time I would now probably be thinking of a return visit. But I was traumatised by the airport checks, the lack of WIFI in order to fill out the confusing locator forms, the general commotion. I was stranded for the night without any money; I had given away much of what I had. During the following days I had to borrow 400GBP to buy another ticket I almost got caught again at the airport and I was experiencing very deep and mixed feelings. I was destroying my links with Africa. This was confounded even more when the owner and charity board refused to reimburse me on the basis that nothing was pre-agreed, inspite of my great achievements. RIP