Photo Evening Experience Gambia in Dortmund on 12.10.18

On October 12, 2018 I presented the impressions and experiences of our trip in March this year at Café Lebensart, Dortmund. Many photos, little films and stories generated enormous interest among the 60 participants. Below you can see the agenda sketched on a flip chart. The travel report can be read on the association’s website under News.

The group of drummers around Anke Filipiak, Leben mit Musik, accompanied the evening very rhythmically and atmospheric.

Karin Neumüller, from the board, had travelled especially from Amberg. Among other things, she actively supported us in answering the visitors’ many questions. And my daughter Miriam, after Karin’s instruction at the Gambian table, diligently handed over woodcarvings and articles sewn by our tailor in Gambia against donations.

The team of Ina Oettinghaus, club member and owner of the Lebensart Café, fed the visitors with many delicious cakes and a red lentil soup, so that nobody had to go home hungry.

And in a few months the 3rd part follows. With this in mind, many greetings from Dortmund,


Heike Hagemann


A new school year begins

Also in Gambia the long summer holidays have come to an end and school life started again. The last days of the holidays were used by the caretakers, the carpenters and the cooks to renew the fly screens and window frames of the classrooms and to free the classrooms from the dust of the holidays. Also the coordinator Mr. Beyai helped and relentlessly painted the wood for the window frames. Most of the girls and boys could hardly wait for the start of the new school year on 17.09. and were proud to attending a higher class. Director Mr. Jatta welcomed all students and reminded them how important mutual respect is for a successful school day. Afterwards, the director welcomed the new Nursery 1 students who entered the school with their parents. After Mr. Jatta explained some of the school’s rules and stressed the importance of punctuality and proper school uniforms, the little ones were assigned to the two classes and started their first day of school. Full of pride they left the school grounds at the end of the school day with the new uniforms, which had already been sewn at the SkillCenter before the holidays.  In the meantime, everyday life has returned and pupils and teachers are striving for good learning. Starting from 01.10. the school will be supported by our two new interns Laura and Hannah. I was very happy to experience the first school day at the Sannehmentereng Lower Basic School this year and wish Laura and Hannah also a good “school start” in Gambia.


(former intern)

Welcome to the Hutzelhof courtyard

The association “Socialis for The Gambia e.V.” was again pleased to receive an invitation from the Hutzelhof farmer to the Hutzelhoffest on 16. 09.2018. Committed members and board members were happy to present products from The Gambia.

For a donation interested persons had the possibility to bring woodcarvings, fabrics and other small things into their possession. We are also happy to select special gifts from our stands. Talented Gambier carve wooden figures which are e.g. a lasting and also appealing gift to bridal couples. The association is particularly pleased that many of the sewing products offered for sale at the stand come from the trained seamstresses of the association’s own Skill Centers in Brufut and Sintet. The seamstresses themselves are especially proud when they can give their work to us in Germany and want to show their gratitude. Through the association you have a perspective to provide for your livelihood through your own work.

The interest and the willingness to donate of the festival visitors was enormous and we would like to thank everyone who helped in any way.

Significant exploration in Gambia

Because you can achieve more together – this was the motto of my trip to Gambia in May. I work voluntarily for the NGO “Technik ohne Grenzen”, an association that aims to improve living conditions in developing countries through technical solutions. We implement projects worldwide in the fields of water, energy, waste management and technical education. It was against this background that the idea of cooperation between Technik ohne Grenzen, Socialis for The Gambia and the Rotary Club Amberg was born to improve the living conditions of the people in The Gambia.
I spent two weeks in Gambia, from 18 May to 02 June. I was accompanied by Verena from Rottenburg and Nash from Kumasi, Ghana, who complemented mine with their technical expertise. This time we spent half in Sintet and half in Brufut to visit the school and the Skill Centers with regard to water and energy supply, sanitary facilities and handling garbage.
During the first week in Sintet it turned out very quickly that the water supply at the Skill Center, but also in the whole town, is seen as a big problem. During our stay we examined and categorized the different water sources of the district Fulakunda and had water samples from the different boreholes analysed in the water laboratory. In Sintet we also visited the school, the hospital and the kindergarten, the women of the village showed us their community garden.
At the Skill Center in Sintet we were welcomed by teachers and students. We were there on several days and discussed with the agricultural teacher Lamin S. Jammeh and the coordinator Samba Sowe the irrigation situation of the fields of the agricultural school as well as the need for better sanitary facilities. On the subject of sustainable toilet systems, we also gave a lecture to the agricultural class. The toilets available there are in poor condition. With regard to the irrigation of the fields, the new, deeper borehole is active and thus enables the agricultural class to cultivate the fields. However, the irrigation system is not yet sufficient to allow irrigation of the entire area under cultivation. I was thrilled to see with what interest and commitment the teachers there were pursuing their work despite these difficulties.
The second week in Brufut was different. Brufut is much more urban and touristic. We visited the school and the Skill Center there. During our visit to the school, we gave lessons on the subject of the water cycle, as we had previously done at the school in Sintet. In a kind of role play each child took his place, either as a mountain or forest or lake or well or as one of many small water particles. We as well as children and teachers had a lot of fun. The school and the Skill Center had a very friendly atmosphere both towards us as their guests and between teachers and students.
Also in Brufut we saw more and got to know the life of the Gambians better. We visited the hospital in Brufut, which has a state of emergency in medicine and materials and also the problem that there is not sufficient system for the disposal of the partly infectious hospital garbage. Following this problem we visited the biggest garbage dump of the country in Bakothe, where we saw smouldering mountains of burning garbage and birds searching for food. These were impressions which were unusual for me as a German and sometimes difficult to classify.
After these two weeks in the diverse West African country, I returned to Germany with so many contrasting impressions that I had never collected in such a short time before. Rarely have I taken more of a journey with me in terms of understanding the world and gained such deep insights into a different way of life. It was a varied and inspiring stay, which will steer the cooperation of Socialis of The Gambia, Rotary and Technik ohne Grenzen in a meaningful direction.


Adehlheid Gonschorek

Interhouse Competition – The sporting highlight of the school year, not only for the pupils.

All 618 students from Nursery 1 to 6th grade, teachers, guards and trainees, even the trainees of the Skill Center in Brufut were randomly assigned red, yellow, green and blue to the 4 houses (Kundas). A really nice idea to break up class structures and motivate everyone who belongs to the school family for a common event. And everyone was motivated! In Sport Week there was no other topic than „In which house are you in?“, „Blue wins!“, and countless discussions among the teachers with absurd arguments for the victory of the respective house: „Green! Take a look around in nature. Green all round!“

After 3 hard training days and complex transformation of the clay court into a real sports stadium, it was time on 22.03.: the 11th Interhouse Competition took place. We know the strength of African runners from big competitions on TV – here we could also see where the basis for it is laid. With incredible ambition and endurance, the children sprinted barefoot for their team in the sand from an estimated 80 m (Nursery) to 800 m. The competition was loosened up by disciplines such as the tripod, in which 2 children each ran together with their inner legs tied together, or jumped, egg run (here with limes), picking up balls, filling up water bottles, trip to Jerusalem. Surprisingly, none of the older girls crossed the finish line wearing a bucket of water on their heads, although you can really admire women on the streets doing this every day.

Until lunch break it was an intense head-to-head race between the green and blue houses. Now that everyone had to wait longer for the school cooks‘ delicious food, a cheerful and exuberant dance party developed spontaneously. Strengthened we went to the seasons. But suddenly the children of the blue team stumbled, lost the baton, green became slower and so the red house literally ran over the two Kundas. Finally 2 highlights for the audience were on the program: „Wrestling“ and „Teachers Race“. Everyone freaked out in wrestling when one of the few chubby students was more than surprisingly thrown to the ground. The two teacher races, at which we interns all had fun (and success), formed the conclusion of a very intensive, emotional and unforgettable sports day.

(Trainee in Gambia)

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