Major deficits in our world have become all too visible to everyone, especially in the last few months; as if with a magnifying glass, the social problems that had been blazing everywhere for a long time were magnified and thus made clearly recognisable. Especially in the western world, people’s everyday lives are nowadays affected by stress and anxiety and this has left its mark. Gratitude and appreciation for the little things in life are hardly present anymore, but more appreciation for everyday realities of life would be absolutely desirable and necessary again!
Appreciation is an attitude of people towards their environment. It relates not only to other people, but also to nature, society and to each individual. We show our appreciation through respect, benevolence, empathy, kindness and attentiveness. The fact that appreciative encounters convey security and contribute to improve the people’s performance – people learn better and achieve more together – all this is well known. We act differently out of inner peace, we give space to needs because we feel them, we go through fears because we give them space, we decide consciously instead of always in the same patterns. A real change in the way we deal with each other must be based on our own appreciation and this is true for all sections of the population. We need to know and love our strengths and potentials, needs and desires, values and motives, weaknesses and fear, limitations and horizons etc. They are part of us and shape our view of the world. The appreciation of our homeland and the strengths and qualities of a country are also part of this. All these assessments are like filters through which we view and experience our own personal world and we can influence these filters with our consciousness and thus shape our own world.
My family and I have been here in The Gambia for a year now and we have also changed our appreciation of many things. We live more consciously and appreciate completely new qualities in our lives, such as freedom of movement, independent work and flexibility in the face of government restrictions, the importance of which we hardly thought about before. As Austrians, security, democracy, freedom of expression and generally a free way of life have always been a normal given for us, but the last few months have shown that we can lose these realities very quickly without proper appreciation. The reflection on our lives led my family and I to The Gambia a year ago. Because we clearly redefined our values, our priorities in life for ourselves through the experiences of the last few months led us to decide to stay here in The Gambia, to appreciate the qualities and rich potentials of the country and also to become entrepreneurially active in the country.
With our IN∙US network founded here, my husband, I and our company partner Michaela, also want to offer other people the opportunity to gain new perspectives, potentials and experiences and to find more appreciation for themselves and their environment. Thus, not only do experiences in The Gambia open up a new world with new values and economic perspectives for our clients, but The Gambia and its inhabitants also benefit enormously through the exchange of experience and knowledge, through the building of networks and social and economic connections. What is normal and given for the Gambian population, are valuable qualities that must be held high for a positive future for visitors from other continents, for those who are marked by the experiences of the last months, by the Corona crisis and now most recently by the war in Ukraine.
IN∙US is therefore a network of freedom-loving, open-minded people who feel called to work together as international entrepreneurs, to break new ground in a changing society and to create the luxury of a new quality of life - freedom, peace, contentment and financial security - in the long term and to protect it through appropriate appreciation. The goal is to use the upheaval in the global world as an opportunity, especially for The Gambia, to finally use its diverse potential as a country and thereby also become more independent from other countries. It is important for the future to be proud to live in the peaceful, sunny country of The Gambia and to be able to see one's children grow up freely. It would also be an unbelievable step forward for tourism if the people here could proudly present their country with all its qualities and not convey the feeling that they would rather live somewhere else. Of course, it is easy to see only the positive sides of other countries without also noticing the problems there. But every country and every people have their great qualities and at the same time its dark sides. It is important to recognise what you value in life and then also set your focus on it. The focus and the perspective have an immense influence on our personal world, and each one of us must first become aware of this. The people have it in their own hands to have their visions and to realise them, and thus the people here can also manage to make the somewhat sleepy-looking country of the Gambia the number one. If one discovers appreciation for oneself and for the country, and all together pursue the goal of success for the community, then each individual can help shape and realise his or her personal success, whether as an investor or with his or her ideas and productive work, because together in the network, every effort is multiplied and contributes to the realisation of our common goal.
The Ninki Nanka Trail is a journey across The Gambia, experiencing rich cultures, diverse landscapes and varied impressions of the country and its colourful population. Sometimes it even seems as if you are travelling through time, because in some places it is as if time has stood still and you can still experience the original, simple Africa. The trail is a special contrast to the normal "sun, sand and sea" package tourism that builds on the untapped potential of The Gambia River. Adventurers experience a life-changing time through the combination of river and overland excursions. The diversity of The Gambia's natural and cultural heritage is to be discovered and more is to be learnt about the important oral legend of the mythical Ninki Nanka dragon that is said to live in the streams of The Gambia River. So, on the trail, you experience and follow the history of The Gambia and its people all the way to its source, and learn to bring more appreciation back into your own life in an exciting way!