Posted by: alexbrompton | January 3, 2012

My African Reflection

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The church that I attend have been running several schools in The Gambia for a few years now so when the opportunity came up to pay a visit to these schools my son and I jumped at the chance. We were part of a much larger group of 19 people to go out this time to visit the schools in Kannifing and Half Dye both in the Serrakunda area of the Gambia.

This was my first visit to Africa and certainly won’t be my last. It was an unforgettable experience. The highlight of the trip for me was to see some very enthusiastic teachers who had come through the school itself and had been sponsored through college and were now teaching at the schools that they attended. What a great investment those sponsors are making. It was also great to meet the many and varied people who made us feel very welcome not just in the village but also into their businesses and homes.

A couple of things made me think about how we use our resources with the best of intentions. For example the amount of people who ask (or even beg) for goods to be left behind and clothes etc to be given and provided for free. Now at first theses things look like kind deeds and do very often meet an immediate need and may feel in some ways rather cathartic however I cannot help but feel that these actions, and much larger ones can in time develop an attitude of dependency that works against what we really want wich is to empower people to support themselves and there families to live a dignified and purposeful life.

This has made me more aware of how careful we should be when giving and supporting to make sure that we are empowering and not dis empowering people. We must not do for others what they themselves can do.

The Gambia recently held an election and reelected President Yahya Jammeh. I was amazed to see posters that used very strong religious language to encourage a vote for Jammeh. This for me raises a lot of questions as to the validity of a “free election” when the country itself is a very religious one. I will look out with great interest at what is happening in the Gambia in the future.


To sum up it was a great trip wich raised as many questions as it answered. The difference in communities was stark however the wants and needs of people to live happy and fulfilled lives were the same. There was great need and great challenge but also great opportunity. I can’t wait to go back and investigate how we can support our Gambian friends to make real and lasting improvment and change.



  1. Sounds like a really good trip wHich I’m sure you got a lot out of!

  2. Sounds like an unforgettable experience – its amazing the similarities and differences that you can identify with a visit like this. It brings to mind the minorians and majorians exercise that we did at the CO host training…

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