Hello all! With just 4 days left in The Gambia I am wrapping up the trip and putting together the final pieces of my research until I return to Charleston. It’s amazing that I’ve been here for a month, and I truly feel that I’ve changed from this experience. I cannot wait, however, to come home to cheeseburger pie, an ice cold beer, new Arrested Development, and my boyfriend.
Saturday was quite the eventful day, as I attended the world cup qualifier between The Gambia and the Ivory Coast. Dr. Sarr told me to not expect much from The Gambian team and he was right. While some of my friends watched in awe of the skills of the two teams, Dr. Sarr and I sat complaining and yelling about the lack of ball control and recklessness in which the Gambians played soccer. I’m a big fan of soccer, and I’ve always felt so much frustration in watching the US play sometimes, but that frustration was nothing compared to the frustration I felt watching The Gambia play. I swear that my high school soccer team could’ve kicked their butts. Maybe I am too hard on them, but they need some real discipline if they’re ever going to improve. We had a bit of a hiccup before the game that caused some issues for my friends and I. As we were entering the gates to the stadium it became very crowded and one of my friends was pick pocketed. I happened to look down and see a hand reaching into my purse and I quickly grabbed the man’s wrist, dug my finger nails into him and shoved him away. I ended up getting lucky and nothing was stolen. It has made me a lot more cautious though…I have been wearing my bookbag on my chest as opposed to my back. I may look stupid but there’s no way in hell I’m getting anything stolen!
Today Dr. Sarr told me that I should try going to the archives on my own. I was really nervous because I do not know Banjul very well and I’ve never taken a van taxi on my own but I sucked it up and hopped on a van to Banjul. The driver did not speak English so I got off in the middle of the city and sought out a woman in the military who directed me to the street I needed to get to. It was only a short walk, but I was amazed and relieved that no one hassled me. I felt like doing a little victory dance because that’s the first time I’ve gone out by myself and no one proposed! I must be looking really rough or something 🙂 Once I arrived at the archives I was able to knock out about 3 hours of work and then the man who runs the archives invited me to lunch. We went to a Nigerian restaurant and I got beans and rice with chicken in some sort of spicy red sauce. It was pretty good and I really enjoyed talking with a new friend. After lunch, he directed me to the van depot and I was on my way back to Serrekunda. The whole experience had me on edge, but I feel pretty victorious about going into the city by myself.
I’m not sure what the rest of this week will bring, but I’m sure it will fly by. I can’t wait to see you all once I’m back in America!