Firstly, sending money to the Gambia via the IBAN code that banks use to transfer money is difficult! I sent my placement money to Faces and places, the people and places partner in the Gambia, and it was returned to my bank 10 days later!
This was either because my bank, the Gambian bank, or both have got something wrong, maybe the IBAN number has changed. So Adama one of the partners’ in the Gambia will try to sort this out on his return home (currently in the UK) the unflappable Sallie said not to worry it will be sorted out.
So on to my placement, I spoke to Adama on the phone this morning and I will be helping to build a dry food store at the Sandele resort and helping to relocate farming equipment to the new GIG farm site.
Hopefully I will spend a lot of time at Sandele, as you can see from the pictures it is awesome! In fact when speaking to Sallie this morning she said she had only spent two days there and I was a jammy so and so (or words to that effect!) if I was staying there.
Below I have outlined the principles behind Sandele Bay Eco-Retreat
“Gamspirit Limited is the company that operates Sandele Bay Eco-Retreat. It is a small, vibrant organisation at the forefront of responsible tourism development – development that benefits local people. The Foundation operates along ethical, ecological and sustainable lines, which are the key values of Gamspirit’s directors, Geri Mitchell and Maurice Phillips.
Gamspirit works very closely with the local village, Kartong, and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that benefits the village and its people. The key features of the MOU are:
• The Sandele Bay Eco-Retreat is on land owned by the people of Kartong.
• At the end of 25 years the land and whatever is built on it will revert to the village.
• At least 70% of all Gamspirit employees will be drawn from Kartong.
• A proportion of Gamspirit’s profits will be paid to support village development activities
The Eco-Retreat has been built to stunning designs, using environmentally friendly construction techniques, and employs local craftsmen and materials sourced from the surrounding area. The first lodges and the Eco-Retreat restaurant opened in November 2007”
Which all sounds brilliant and I know it will be tough as a volunteer in The Gambia but someone’s got to do it!
I am sure there will be more information to come from The Gambia and I will update the blog when there is.