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My volunteering experience

My Magazine 2022/10
3 min
Author: Nika Dobrovoljc
I decided to visit The Gambia through the organisation Kids are the World (Volunteer Trails) for quite some time. In the end, I decided that this was something I wanted to be a part of myself - I knew that I liked to help others and that I liked to spend time with children, which were two activities that the organisation connected and offered. To make the trip itself a bit more of a challenge, I decided to combine it with research for my master's thesis and conduct the whole thing as a study visit.

During the week, I taught the children and provided them with learning assistance, and I also prepared various materials for them to facilitate learning the basics of mathematics.

I joined various activities and trips in the afternoons and on the weekends. I saw the capital city of Banjul, kayaked on the Tanji River, was present at the drumming on the beach, visited the craft market and the market in Serekunda, walked several times on the beach at sunset, saw the island of Kunta Kinteh and Jinack, spotted various animals (chimpanzees, monkeys, crocodiles), visited the authentic African village of Jamali - got to know their way of life and tasted rice and groundnut porridge, ate a local dish - benechin, rode a canoe down the Gambia River and saw the Gambian Stonehenge, ate plenty of Gambian mangoes and learned a new way of eating oranges.

On my journey, I learned how people have fun in other parts of the world; so inventive and flexible. They appreciate what they have and try to get the best out of it. They live rather "slowed-down", calm life and do not worry about every little thing. You also learn a lot about yourself. You get to know what it's like to be, for example, a few hours without electricity and water, which seems unimaginable at first, but you survive and at the same time realise what you have at home.

Despite the fact that the people of The Gambia do not have much, they are so happy. They know that they will solve all problems and that they can also count on the help of neighbours, friends, and acquaintances in any situation. They live as a unity that stands up for the entire population. The first impression I got about the people was that they were very open and friendly towards others. In every place, you are greeted and asked how you are.

I also liked the connection between people - their free time is mostly reserved for spending the afternoon together on the beach (playing football, swimming, sitting by the shore, and talking...). In this way, they give you the feeling that they are pleased with you and that they accept you. And the children are also happy for you - they show you this mainly by running after you, waving and shouting "toubab, toubab", which means "person with fair skin" in the positive sense of the word. You can see their carefreeness and joy. They don't care if they are dirty or if their clothes are torn, but they simply enjoy life - kicking a ball, building sand houses, jumping over a rope or washing a car. They are also pleased with sweets and all the things you give them.

I will probably return to The Gambia one day, and I recommend travelling to anyone because I believe that The Gambia has something for everyone that makes an impression on the individual!

Make your own Experience

Would you like to travel as a volunteer, discover The Gambia and give back to the community? Send us an inquiry, and we will provide you with all the needed information.


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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