Arriving in Africa and catching up with old friends

Friday/Saturday

After a delayed get away Shelagh and I arrived at Banjul airport a little later than expected but we were soon whisked off to the hotel – Ngala Lodge, a former colonial mansion and our home for the next week.

It’s beautiful here.

As I’m typing I can hear the waves breaking on the beach just a short stroll from our terrace.

Our private terrace at Ngala Lodge

The hotel is perched on the cliff tops of Bakau and has a well cared for garden with a number of secluded seating areas – perfect if you want a secret corner to yourself (and no children allowed!)

Our room is really spacious with its own lounge area and private terrace with comfy sofa and chairs. The bathroom is huge with a tub, shower and two sinks – great for the two of us girls to spread our paraphenalia around. The staff are very welcoming and the food at the restaurant last night was really good which is no surprise as the Ngala Restaurant is well known as one of the best in The Gambia.

What is a surprise is that the hotel is not very busy but this is probably why we got such a great deal!
(Please note Nyodema does not pay our travel or accommodation expenses. All money donated goes to help people in The Gambia.)

Spent this afternoon photographing the re-decorated rooms at Kombo Beach Hotel for The Gambia Experience but hoping to have a lovely lazy day tomorrow.

Lots planned for the rest of the week though.

Sunday

The neighbours’ children

After another lovely breakfast we spent the morning swimming and relaxing by the pool.

In the afternoon we caught a taxi to visit some old friends – musicians from Guinea now living in The Gambia. This year they have found it particularly hard to find work and Moussa has had a bad bout of malaria so although I am disappointed to see where they are living at the moment I am very pleased to see that Moussa is on the mend. Sekou too is looking well (despite having leprosy and TB earlier in the year). I hand over the presents from friends in England including clothes, medicine and money to buy a bicycle.

Moussa and Okams

They play and sing for us and we join in when we recognise a song we know. Shelagh sees if she can remember a tune Sekou taught her last January on the balafon and I’m impressed to see that she can still play it.

Heading back to our hotel it’s particularly hard to reconcile the contrast between the luxury of Ngala Lodge with the poverty our friends are living in.

Dairy… Part 1

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