During their week-long trip, which took place in December, the group of six girls spent time volunteering at the Mama Tamba nursery in Illiassa, which Withington’s Gambia charity WithGambia has funded;the Withington community through various fundraising schemes has sponsored the building itself and its development since 2007. The group also visited a sustainable organic farm and BeeCause, a bee-keeping farm and training school. They also enjoyed time exploring Gambian towns and cities and meeting local people, as well as visits to a safari camp and a trip to a sacred crocodile pool at Katchikally.
Prior to their expedition, the thirteenth organised by Withington, the girls had worked hard to raise funds to help local communities – paying for a re-roofing project, electricity and a class room redecoration at the Mama Tamba Nursery and to buy teaching resources and gifts to give away during their stay. The community in Illiassa was also not forgotten as the group took with them solar lamps to donate to the local people.
The girls said their visit had given them a deeper understanding of the country and its culture – and having been greeted by great warmth and friendliness throughout their visit they returned home with the view that The Gambia fully deserves its reputation for being ‘the smiling coast of Africa’.