Day 17: Another day at Child Africa

It was a lovely sunny and rather relaxing day. The whole morning I made placards  to welcome the sponsor in the most enjoyable way! The kids from P3, knew that I would be coming to their class so they constantly came to ask whether I was ready. After lunch I entered their class, they were having Local Language and Literacy which wasn’t so interesting for me, instead I had some fun outside with others and went back for their last hour of arts.

I laughed so much with one of the deaf students. This little guy is the funniest guy I know. He always walks around school with a happy face and screaming out some random sounds. He also likes to hit other students, but nobody cares. Today he walked around with a stick ready to attack everyone who came his direction. I was sitting on the bench and enjoying the whole show. He is deaf -mute as well as mentally retarded, nevertheless he is always happy and smiling, it’s lovely to see! When I explained him (in my best sign language) that I wanted a picture of him, he scared  away all the students and was ready to pose!  Isn’t he lovely?! I tell other kids not to walk around with a stick or hit fellow students, this kid just cannot do anything wrong in my eyes 🙂 !

Today I also wanted a picture of Catherine, so my mom and erik could have a look at their “sponsor child”. When I called her, she came up to me and kneeled down, I really find it horrible when these kids do that, but that’s the way they are taught to behave. It makes me very uncomfortable! Erik and Mom say hello to your new daughter: Catherine 😉 !

When sitting outside, a teacher came up to me with THE question of today. Please read carefully it was so funny! “Larissa, did you ever act in a movie?” My answer was a short no. “Are you sure? Because once I saw a movie called Titanic and one of the actresses Rose (Kate Winslet) looked just like you. Are you sure it’s not you, because I think in movies the actors get different names”. I had to explain him that sure it’s not me and that names are changed, on top of that he still doesn’t believe that it’s a true story 🙂 !

As you can see every day there are funny stories to tell, I’m laughing so much here!

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Fell in love with The Gambia

Arrived back in Barcelona, sun is shining but the weather was sweeter in The Gambia!

It was my first time in “The Smiling Coast of Africa”, but definitely not my last. I hope I will go back very soon! Loved everything about the country. What will stay with me the most is the friendliness and happiness of the Gambian people. Even though people don’t have a lot, they respect each other, are not selfish and try to help whenever possible. Life seems to be so easy. Unfortunately today I was back in an overcrowded metro, where grumpy people were pushing their way in and arguing about the most stupid things… Seriously some people need to get a life and learn how to put on a smile!

Yesterday, right before I went to bed, my “compañero de piso” entered my room and told me that we won’t have water for the whole day Monday (today). Normally my reaction would be: “seriously how is that possible, NO water ALL day, that’s means no washing, no cooking, no toilet, … that really sucks”. However after my travel to The Gambia I just couldn’t get those words out of my mouth anymore. After seeing how some Gambian people live (only 6 hours flying distance away) and talking to people who don’t have water, nor electricity at home, it made me realize: “what the hell is one day without water??!!”

So keep in mind:

Local Gambian party and the day after!

Tuesday evening it was time for some action and discover the local Gambian nightlife… together with Robin, who’s in charge of the hotel and two hotel guests we went to Senegambia. It’s a street with many bars and  nightclubs. We went into “Wow”, it definitely was a great choice… Nothing compared to any nightlife in Europe, plus those African people know how to shake their body, so much fun! The club was crowded, hot and awfully sweaty but it didn’t keep us from staying until it closed. Two of our little group went to bed, but that really wasn’t my plan, together with Robin and some others wanted to discover the after party! Unfortunately that seemed to be closed on Tuesdays so we ended up seeing the sunrise at the beach. After pushing our taxi (battery was flat) and some other adventures we arrived in the hotel at 8 am (my mum was up already, having coffee and probably stressing cause I wasn’t in my room). All in all that’s what I call a great Gambian night!! I will keep this one in my memory a long time!

The next day at 9.30 am I was already at breakfast, with such a sunshine I can’t stay in my bed too long! We met up with Toulie (a lovely girl working at the hotel) to go to the beach. She took us to a Brufut Beach, a nice and quiet beach with very few tourists. It was a wonderful relaxing day… Just what I needed!

Alex Nursery school The Gambia

No internet the last few days, it’s Africa we gotta deal with that!

On Tuesday we visited (another) local school, which was setup by some of our Belgian hotel guests. “Alex Nursery School The Gambia”. It opened in 2010 and has 4 classrooms with 180 children aged between 2,5 – 8. It has 4 classrooms. The project is sponsored by the city of Maaseik, Belgium and some other individual Belgian sponsors. It was amazing to see the result of such a wonderful project.

We arrived to the school at noon, when the children got there lunch. It was very amusing to play with those little cuties.

The Gambia, Day 3

In the morning we went to the local market of Serekunda, with our bodyguard (= our funny taxi driver who got promoted :-)). There were no tourists, so he was very proud to show off with us Europeans or as he said: “my first white friends”.

In the middle of the market is a local school, which has 5 classrooms with kids aged between 3-6. We went into 2 classes and they performed a little song for us. It was adorable, but on the other hand I needed to hold my tears, as it was also so sad.

Afterwards we visited Alkali’s (= taxi driver or was it bodyguard??) little home, his pregnant wife and family. They were very happy to see us, we brought them some clothes and little things for the future baby and for Junior Alkali, a 3 months old baby from the neighbors.

The other part of the day, we just relaxed at our hotel… it was too hot to do something else. Every 5 minutes I went or in the pool or under a cold shower. I ain’t complaining though!!

At 6 PM Alkali came again and brought us to the Coco Ocean Hotel. It’s a beautiful 5* hotel, but for me it’s a bit out of place here in Africa. However it was nice seeing the sunset and having dinner, but I won’t recommend to overnight there if you wanna enjoy a real African experience.

Now it’s time for some aftersun and rest! Looking forward to a new day tomorrow!

My second day in “The smiling coast of Africa”

After a nice breakfast at The Omakan, we called a “kind of” taxi driver (my mum saved his number from her previous travel). He drove us to Kololi beach. I don’t know much about cars, but I definitely can say that his car was ready for the landfill, the back wheel felt like falling off and nothing looked quite right… oh whatever, we arrived safely! The driver was adorable and so happy we called him… We hardly understood his English, but had a lot of fun with him. He had a cotton swab behind his ear, so we wanted to know why?? When his ear itches was the answer! Such a funny guy:

 “Hi how are you?”, “what’s your name?”, “Where are you from?”, “No problem”, “I make special price for you”, “I’m your brother, you are my sister”, “Pretty girl”, “Nice lady”, “We have fresh juices”, “I make you the best juice”, “Come and have a look”,… Just to give you an idea of what I heard all day long!

We got ourselves a beach bed, but most of the time we went for a walk in the hot sun…Every Sunday it’s “family day” at that beach, so all the locals came together and brought their own picnic. Really nice to see!

The guy who gave us our beach bed was super friendly (like most of them here in Gambia, they really try to do EVERYTHING to make you at ease). But this one especially. He (the left one) gave me a bracelet, necklace and after a while asked me out! He didn’t do it in a pushy or irritating way, as some do, so I took it with a “laid-back attitude“… When my mum went into to sea, he always sneaked up to me for a chat. Before we left we bought something in his shop, as we were on our way to the taxi he run after us and gave me a “With Love & Peace, The Gambia” sign, plus a little paper with his number and mail. I told my mum a few times today to keep a bit closer to me, but she kinda ignored my request, she was having too much fun! Can’t blame her it was pretty funny!

 Here are some more shots of my first Gambian experience: had a great time with my little friends in the sea, drank healthy fresh juices, had a nice beach walk,… Already LOVING The Gambia!

Arrived at a little paradise

10 minutes before take-off we got our boarding passes, always pretty stressful those staff tickets… Seats were available but the aircraft was overloaded, so after “adapting” the weight, they gave us the green light.. what a happy moment!! We had a great flight, thanks to my mum and her nice colleagues we flew business class. We had some good food and I started to read the book my dad gave me: The Biography of Steve Jobs (so far I really recommend that one).

At the airport everything went very fast (made me wonder whether I was really in Africa) our luggage came out first and somebody was waiting for us with an “Omakan sign”. Luckily everything went so smoothly, it was way too hot, so I needed to get rid of my panties and boots…

After a 20 min. drive we arrived in Sukuta, the road to the hotel was a bit sandy and the neighborhood a bit … let’s call it “really African”, but once the entrance doors opened it was just perfect! A little paradise… We relaxed at the pool and had delicious dinner!

For now let’s call it the day: time to go to bed and get ready for some new Gambian experiences tomorrow!

packing/unpacking x 2

Let me be negative for a second and write down what I dislike about travelling:

1) Folding up my clothes (so it fits in that suitcase, which always seems to be waaaay too small)

2) Making sure not to forget anything (checking, rechecking and sometimes starting from zero again)

3) Unpacking (Just hate it when I suddenly realize I forgot that one very important item!!)

Apart from that I enjoy every little bit of travelling… yes even waiting at the airport (thanks to all those interesting people on this planet)!

This morning I packed my suitcase in Barcelona (all my winter clothes, cause I won’t be needing those anymore) now I just unpacked here in Belgium and soon I will be packing again, but tomorrow finally I’ll unpack in Banjul!! Really don’t like this, OH well… luckily I have a great week to look forward to!

So let’s get ready to make my suitcase for the second time today, what’s on the list: “dresses, skirts, shorts, t-shirts, bikinis, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera and not to forget some “old” clothes and other stuff to make the Gambian people happy! Ok now it’s time for some action, the flight is around 11AM and I wanna finish packing soon…

Good night and figgers crossed I won’t forget anything this time!

BCN → BRU → BJL

Counting down, just 4 more days to go!

Excited for two reasons: skipping uni for a full week, but most of all because I’m going to Gambia for the first time in my life. Which means I’m already fulfilling my header’s quote: “Go at Least Once A Year To A Place You Have Never Been Before“. Oh and before I forget to mention… there is definitely a third reason: I’m travelling with my lovely mum!

I’m really looking forward, the weather forecast is looking amazing (read +30°C). Finally wearing my beach outfit again: bikini, slippers, straw hat, sunglasses, … It has been two months now, Miami during the Christmas break, so my tan is fading away and I’m in urgent need of some Vitamin D.

What I love about travelling to Africa is seeing those adorable children being so happy after you gave them a little present, even when for most of us that present would be totally useless (and piss off most children in this spoiled western society!!)

We gave this little baby one of our chocolate chip cookies… She ate it with sooo much pleasure, literally her whole face was enjoying it!!

Just a few more days and I will say: Hasta Pronto Barcelona, Hello Gambia!

From Barcelona With Love!

Amazing city, Beach, Architecture, Tapa’s, Fiesta, Cava, Sangria, Cerveza,… YES Barcelona has it all… and this weekend Sunshine officially returned!! I am so grateful for living/studying in this city.

I opened my dairy today and realized that I didn’t update it for more than 5 months, even worse I actually never even read the things I wrote. SO WHAT’S THE POINT??? That’s why I am taking on a new adventure (hoping I keep up with this one) and started this blog. Choosing a name wasn’t all that easy, after they made me change about 23 times: “Dream it, Make it, Share it” came out as being the winner…

Hmmm so what will this blog be about?? It will be about places I travel to, share some of my experiences and upload pretty pictures! And much more, wait & see…

So here we GOOO, I am excited to get started (ok true! so was I when I first started my dairy, but no, I swear this time I will put more effort, cause who prefers handwriting anyways??)

From BCN with ♥