Our 2015 GiveBack GiveAway project was based in Senegal and the Gambia, in the depths of West Africa. Having traveled extensively in the region, Johnny and Josh both felt compelled to give something back, and with that sentiment the GiveBack GiveAway was born. Partnering with a grass-roots NGO in Kolda, rural Senegal, our 2015 project chose 3 local projects to help the local communities.
The main project we had decided to work on was something which would bring both dignity and comfort to the single mothers working in the dusty Kolda market at sunrise each day. These strong women would wake up at 4am day-in, day-out selling their wares on the red dirt of the Senegalese ground. Local vegetables, ethnic jewelry, the ubiquitous African phone credit scratch cards, it was back breaking work for these ladies, many of them in their 60s. We decided to spend the project funds on hiring local carpenters to manufacture new market stalls for the women, so they could sit down properly and sell their goods from a real market stall. No longer fighting for a spot to sell their items, nor having to fight with the Senegalese dust. Upon completion of the 50 market stalls, the families invited the group to a local ceremony where we handed over all the brand new tables. Fabulous African dresses, music booming and endless new dance moves, the ladies were delighted with their new set-up, as we were.
We moved on deeper into Senegal, crossing the border in the Gambia where we donated rice sacks and sports good to a local community centre. Many of the families there had lost their offspring to the refugee crisis playing out in Europe where thousands are crammed into boats as they try to escape poverty and reach the European shores, so helping out here was hugely appreciated too, as the local mayor organised a thank-you conference for our group.
Our final project was with within local partner’s village, we were accepted with open arms as we again donated bicycles, a computer and sacks of rice to the villages poorest members. Songs and dances aplenty, as they group gathered and offered us a Muslim thank you with an African slant, the event was moving although the local kids were perhaps more excited to see some foreigners than they were with their prayers!
After the projects were done we continued to backpack through Senegal and the Gambia. The pink lake of Dakar, the beach-side town of Cap Skirring, boats through the Gambia, Goree Island. For many of the group, this was their first taste of Africa, and what a taste it was. New friends for life, the projects were a success and West Africa will be in our hearts forever. Until the next time, Senegal, thank you.
Arrival day. We will spend the day seeing the capital city and sunset drinks by the water.
The winner, and the tour participants, will leave their home country today, and fly to the City of Angels – Bangkok, Thailand! We’ll have a little get together this evening at the ‘off-the-beaten-path’ train market in the city.
Travel to Kolda
We will make our way to the south of Senegal, via our private transport, to our first projects
In the morning we will visit the school to meet and interact with the children. We will then visit elders of the town. In the evening we will play a game of football with the local club.
Today we will hand over the market stalls to the women. These tables are vital for the women to be able to sell their crafts, produce and daily goods. In the evening we will have a celebration with the local people to enjoy a great visit.
Travel to Cap Skirring
We head west to see the White sand Beaches of Cap Skirring.
In the morning we will visit a school and make a donation of sports equipment, uniforms and computers. We will enjoy the drum and dance of the local people before we take a boat to a remote village to visit with the people there. At night we’ll take in the fiery orange sunset from our bungalows on the beach.
Take the day to enjoy the beach and soak in the clear ocean
Travel to Banjul Gambia
Today we travel to a new country and discover another culture in the Gambia.
Visit the pre-established learning center in Banjul that is teaching locals computer skills. Drum and Dance with the locals in the evening.
Travel to Dakar
We once again travel to Senegal and head to the capital.
Visit Goree Island
Today we take the ferry to one of Dakars most famous attractions. The colourful island of Goree. Check out the beaches and local art
Visit the Pink Lake and the turtle Sanctuary
Take a dip in the bright pink lake outside of Dakar and float sitting up. This crazy lake is as buoyant as the dead sea. After we will visit a turtle Sanctuary.
No trip to Africa is complete without a safari! Jumping onboard our SUVs we drive around Senegal’s leading nature reserve to see giraffes, rhinos, zebras, gazelles et al in their natural habitat.
Dakar Exit Day
Time for a teary goodbye as we wave goodbye to beautiful West Africa and head back to our respective corners of the world. Having spent time giving back, and exploring a fascinating region, you’ll see the world in a different light.