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Falling In Love With Destination Gambia, Smiling Coast of Africa

Within a few kilometers of Banjul International Airport, while the minibus runs a deserted, partially visible road, despite the sign that announces the road is bleak by wind and sun, a group of Travel and Tour writers including Toni De Coninck, with the visible scenery of the destination cannot wait any longer before falling in love with the Destination Gambia, The Smiling Coast of Africa when they arrived in The Gambia.

The letters have become awful, like winter skin that is ready to be thrown away. Toni read through the curtain of downwind dust just two words: No Trespassing.

‘The former presidential route,’ as explained by our official tour guide. The complacent guide does not like the previous president who was pushed away after a short and peaceful revolution. “He alone could use this road. It brought him straight to the Presidential Lounge of the airport. “

Two kilometers before the slope Toni and other colleagues turn left, offroad, between Hagen of brem, shrubs, and ebony trees that withstand the power of the climate. Here and there is a hut. Women in yellow-red headscarf scrub t-shirts and clean a table full of water. Children cheer loudly behind an improvised ball. A man raises his hand and said Wa Alaikum Salaam meaning – and peace be unto you.

In A State Of Love

Toni expressed “It is difficult not to fall in love with Gambia at first sight, although the land is not much more than a strip of land on both sides of the same river. On a world map it feels strange, a territory that breaks through the skin of Senegal as a scar. Candle boundaries on the coast, twisting like a duodenum in the interior. The country breathes Africa from all pores: it is noisy and colorful, and unfortunately, one-third lives below the limit, which is even determined in a third world as absolute poverty. Tourism has to cope with these figures, and education and education are needed to get Gambians in this sector.”

The official tour guide responding to Toni says “The new president has understood that. Now the population still. I am Muslim myself, but we must stop thinking that Allah will solve it for us. There is work at the store to do.”

However, visiting a few communities, the group become fascinated with some of the graffiti on the walls and other forms of art. Meanwhile, in 2010, the Ballabu Conservation Trust, led by Lawrence Williams of Makasutu, invited some renowned street artists to give a good example. Purpose: To show the population that you can attract tourists with creativity. In villages like Galloya, they were able to edit the walls of the houses with their graffiti and other forms of art. The artists were none of the least: Know Hope from Israel, Remed from Spain, TIKA from Switzerland, Best Ever from the United Kingdom, and none other than the ROA from Ghent, also known for work in Ostend, London, and Ghent itself. They called it the ‘Wide Open Walls’ project because it’s about walls and wall crashes.

Our official guide disclosed that “The artists usually do their thing in anonymous cities. Here they worked on the walls of the compound and interacted with the residents of the houses. The whole project was happening for the artists, community, and visitors. That is still the case for dialogue today.

Making It With Children In Galloya

In this village, Galloya, the children, as expected, are extremely active in their dialogue. Even before getting well with them, young townspeople who speak a few words of English spoke to Toni and others during the walk, through the alleyways and paths full of rolling sand and through woods full of cashew trees floating indolent mud flies. There, the houses are scattered, and there is no village center. There are farms, with patches of land on which goats lie. Window cocoons dyed crimson from which two dark eyes pry. And the long-term effect? Our guide was determined: “It is essential that the children go to school, and that they learn how to stand for their future. Gambians are not lazy, but they often rely on their fate and lethargy. That has to be done. We have so much in our march! “

Toni, his friends, and colleagues visited Destination Gambia in April 2017.


Yunus S Saliu

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