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Behind the Lens: Kerewan Samba Sira

My Magazine 2023/09
2 min
We came across Kerewan Samba Sira village while researching a new location for a water well project in remote villages through our charity organization, Volunteer Trails. Since there is already a community well supplying water to the whole village, we received a plea to help light up the entire village instead.

Kerewan Samba Sira is one of the many beautiful villages in the Central River Region of The Gambia, located almost 300 km from the capital city of Banjul, with over a thousand people living within one hundred and seventy (175) compounds. The village is big and has a nursery, a primary school, and two mosques. Currently, the residents are also trying to build a health centre for the community.

The village did not have access to electricity and was, until we finished the first phase of 100 solar lights installation in April 2023, in complete darkness after sunset. The work, joy, sports and security in Kerewan Samba Sira ended when the sun went down. Without moonlight, it would be pitch dark and difficult to see the surroundings. Everyone would be confined to their homes, and their sense of security would fade with the sunlight. The lack of security in the darkness is also related to worries such as travelling on the roads, burglars, using the outdoor toilets after dark, etc.

We successfully completed the first phase of the solar lights installation project, and life in the village of Kerewan Samba Sira has changed since then. The community comes together after dusk, vendors can continue their sales, artisans can work longer, and the streets are safe to use at night. Youngsters are again allowed to walk to the nearby shops and take care of their elders through daily shopping, and kids can still play together outside even when night falls. The happiness that was brought to the village is priceless. The historical moment of installing solar lights on the main streets will be remembered forever, not only by the village community but also by us.

The hospitality of the village is unbelievable, and so is their tradition and daily life. We were greeted with a welcoming ceremony that will forever be etched in our hearts. Dancing, clapping, singing, and the sounds of instruments of traditional griots echoed in our minds for many days after we returned home.

We want the visitors to The Gambia to feel the beauty of the village, the friendliness of the people and the many hidden gems, such as the place's history, nature and culture. So, during our charity mission, we did intensive research on the village, engaged the community in training and included the village on My Gambia Map of Experiences in the country. The village, which rarely received visitors earlier, is now open to anyone eager to experience the Gambian way of life.

The community also welcomes volunteers from various backgrounds like medical, educational, agricultural, etc. There are many ways to contribute to the development of the village, but the first and foremost is with the exchange of knowledge. This type of travel, in our experience, is one of the most fulfilling.

Some streets still need lights. Therefore, we will continue our additional 150 solar lights installation project until its successful completion.

If you are looking for responsible and meaningful travel, or you want to reconnect with yourself, share your knowledge, and experience the pure essence of life, then we invite you to Kerewan Samba Sira.

Volunteer, visit, contribute.

Volunteer Trails

With the heritage of making a change in The Gambia for the past 12 years, Volunteer Trails is the creation of a new vision that will improve the quali...
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My Gambia

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