February 2010



Travel report 11th to 26th


This is new: this time a large group with 13 (!) people made ​​their way to The Gambia, including 7 "newbies". The journey went from the airport in Stuttgart and Nürnberg, and then all met in Brussels in order to travel together on. So the wether looked at the departure in Brussels: outside really nice wet and cold weather, temperatures below zero, and inside really good mood!
Group picture: back row from left: Silke, Gudrun, Ines, Moritz, Ingeborg, Lucas, Silvia, Christine, Ilona, front row: Sepp, Roland, Bernd and Andreas.
With only 1/2 hour late arrival in Yundum Airport, with so much baggage, the two cars from Dr. Gaye are not enough for the transport, and we had to charter a bus.




We had booked "our" Bakotu Hotel privately, and on the next day, friday, we had move over for the next 6 days to the "Kombo Beach". Unlike in the Bakotu, Kombo Beach is just built with rather barrack-like blocks, but we have endured it anyway. Here is a very nice picture of the hotel. For dinner we went to "Paradise", a still quaint, small and rather simple restaurant just a few minutes walk from the hotel, located right on the beach.




The "test days", this time on saturday, 13th and on friday, 19th are always something really special, because we are happy when we see the vast majority of those affected again. We measured blood sugar, long-term blood glucose and body weight. Amie Colley has improved its long-term blood glucose result again: 6.0%! However: sometimes she had a hypo, it occurres in such a tight blood sugar control (she makes a very good self-management). On the picture we see her together with Isatou, and we are discussing the print out from her blood sugar meter (Isatou is still on ICT since november). And our hardworking volunteer, Eliman, of course, he's with us, too! Lamin Dibba has always played a major role among persons with diabetes, he is now the chairman of the "Young Gambian Diabetic Association."




Ok, not a positive message from the container, yet "no problem", because we wanted to go there: an excursion on monday to James Island, the slave island in the Gambia River! James Island was from the beginning (as in the 16th century the first Europeans sailed to the Gambia River) the location in the Gambia River, the island of great importance. By the beginning of the 17th Century Duke Jacob Kettler (the grandson of the last German Grand Master) let built an establishmenmt on the island of only 3,500 square meters. If you want to learn more about James Island, please click here!
About 30 km from the shoreline James Island is settled (approximate location: black dot in the figure) in the middle of the Gambia River. However, we had to go to Banjul, and from there we must take the ferry to Barra, it takes about 1.5 hours. On the ferry everything is taken away, because there is no other way to get to the North Shore, only very far away. In Barra we went 3 km, then arrived on a paved road, turn right, and the next 25 km on a "dancing road", that has been not well tolerated for some of us.
From Juffure on to Kunta Kinteh, we ferried across the river with a pirogue, there are life jackets for everyone. From this island Kunta Kinteh have been brought into slavery to Maryland / USA ("Roots", Alex Hailey's book).
Since 2003 this island is a historic spot, just 65 meters by 55 meters small, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the ruins of the fort from 1755 are clearly visible. Our tour guide took us to the salient points, mayor's house, the rooms for the slaves, etc. Whether these old guns were still from that time was not to find out!
James Island was renamed on 6th february 2011 in "Kunta Kinteh Island".
On the way back we had strong headwinds and had to draw water, the return to shore was almost an adventure.




Our container that we had loaded on 8th january at Stetten, was picked up on the following monday and taken to Mannheim/Germany. There, the crane was frozen, which should load him on the ship to Antwerp. Thus already was a delay by 1 week, new arrival in the Gambia: 13th february, so on a saturday. On Tuesday evening, 16th, we received the call, that our container is not to be found. Not arrived? Unloaded at another port?
Anyway, we all have been very worried...
On wednesday, the world was turned around: container in the port "somewhere" found, and Lamin Gaye, one of the harbor master and the brother of Dr. Alieu Gaye, is a man ready to get released within only 5 hours of the container. Because the next day was "Independence Day", a holiday in The Gambia!



Against afternoon, about 4 p.m., the truck rolled then in front of the clinic of Dr. Alieu Gaye, the doors were opened, and then it was time to unload: the hospital kitchen from Hilde and Sepp, beds, walkers, wheelchairs, office equipment, and much more for the hospital specific material was unloaded.







The rest of the material we have put in the container to the Gambia was then brought to Kotu in a specially rented warehouse and unloaded. Here's a look inside.




The next day we visited the new hospital, which is scheduled to open mid to late March. The beds and cabinets were built, and the installation of the kitchen have done Sepp, Bernd and Andreas.






Amie Colley


For Amie Colley (since 2003 she has Type 1 diabetes), our dressmaker, we have gathered sewing machines in Germany again, she wanted machines which can sew zigzag! Five mechanical and three electrical machineries we have brought her over the container to the Gambia, and Mr. Manly-Elliott (Banjul Oxygen Factory) kindly provided us kindly with his truck, free of charge for all our services on request.
The above picture shows our happy Amie in her sewing room. Now she can get started right, because "clothes for the Gambian women must have ornaments, and this i couldn't offer with my previous machine."
And she invited us and gave us a really good lunch...






And how is our foster family "Ngoneh" with her family? Ngonehs foot has healed, thanks to the care of Anya, our Podologin, fine. Almost by chance, because every time we are there, as sugar is measured. A random, but dramatic discovery:
We measure all the persons in the family, and Amie, the younger daughter (pictured right), was measured sugar also. The result: 20.5 mmol/l, after washing fingers the same, in mg/dl: 369 mg, no one knew!
We went just around the corner to the clinic to Dr. Gaye, where she was treated with insulin, the long-term glucose monitoring was 13.7%. Already a shock to Amie ...





On Saturday, 20th february, we invited all the Typ1-diabetics to a workshop. The aim was to practice the important things in life diabetes, to repeat and to deepen.
We wanted to start at 2 p.m., but until then all of them were here, it took a few minutes ....
Dr. Gaye was also present and spoke the words issuing.
Amie Jobe, daughter of Ngoneh was also invited, and came naturally. Against 3 p.m. we started, the training program, Lamin (Dibba) was the introduction to the chapter "your body needs insulin."
Amadou (Barry) helped to explain the proper use of insulin pen or single use insulin pen.








On Monday, 22th, Ingeborg and Silvia organizes on behalf of Dr. Gaye a workshop, with a group of not educated women, and which are interested in a career as a nurse.
Training of blood pressure measurement, basic diet with the food stamps from the training program, and also a content was the technique of injecting insulin, in practise...




All, which have taken a sponsorship (diabetes or school sponsorship or even both), have very lovingly to those affected, especially Ilona and Bernd, Andreas, Silke, Ines, Sepp, Christine and Moritz.
To have a sponsorship is to have a great importance for those affected (diabetes). Treatment with insulin costs per year amount on average about 150-400 €, the cost of three blood glucose measurements per day, again 240 €, in addition there are tools (needles for pens or U100 syringes and lancets for blood glucose monitoring) with approximately 40 €, this is a sum between 450 to 700 €!
If an affected must go in the school, we ensure, that this is a good school. Without education, a job is hardly possible, you can be lived from the later.




And how is Arafang? Of course we visited him in the last week of our stay, after all, he wants to work at the end of the season and stop the work at the hotel, and finally to devote all his farm.
Beekeeping does have problems, it is difficult to find a swarm with a queen. Free-running animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs devour him from his seed, and he has to get up at night to scare them.
Anyway, we had in the container furniture and other useful materials that we have brought him.




And Anya, "our" podologist, works since October 2009 in the Pakala Clinic of Dr. Gaye. What was an almost timid first project of our club, has become for her a full time job, and as an additional service for the clinic. Anja makes a really great job, and she gets on all sides recognize and praise that she deserved. The supply of the needed material (dressings, compresses, etc.) is ensured and the association financed that.
Here the workshop of Anja (Rollman) in one of the small rooms in the old clinic from Dr. Gaye. She sits on a small stool and treated patients. After moving to the new clinic, she can spread, we have brought her (in the container) a podiatry chair.




On 26th february, it's stated: farewell. Sure, there were a lot of small and large events to report! Well, we hope that the readers of this site has got a good impression of what the whole group has made during their stay.
In the picture from left to right, back row: Dr. Alieu Gaye, Bernd, Ines, Anja, Silke, Gudrun, Silvia, Buy (Bakotu Hotel reception), front: Lucas, Ilona, Andrew, Ingeborg, Fatou, Sepp.






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