Yesterday was depressing as I discovered the stark reality of getting things done here in The Gambia: nothing, NO THING would happen without Chris and me on the projects we are supporting. We are launching a restaurant on Friday and a farmers market on Sunday. Walking alongside locals to enable and empower is exhausting: the minute I walk away having answered questions and encouraged initiative, either zip action is taken or everything goes back to what it was beforehand! As one German lady commented in an encounter on a Sunday morning walk along an almost deserted beach: no wonder their President has become increasingly dictatorial over time.
Yesterday I phoned around to get the stall holders for the Sunday ‘Good Market’…..it’s a bit difficult to have a market with nothing on sale. The list of possible stall holders had few contact names or details, so that was a challenging starting point. I managed to get farm fresh eggs, shrimps, artisan breads, organic fruit and veg, honey and bee products, jams, peanut butter, medicinal herbs, soaps and natural beauty products. A chef from an upmarket hotel is going to do ‘a taste of the real Gambia’ tapas dishes and local juices, coolers and smoothies. However, the entertainment HAD been organised, so everyone involved is looking forward to having a good time! Today, I have been to two local radio stations to get publicity sorted…one radio station agreed to do a talk show and interview a selection of the stall holders as some of their personal stories are amazing. For example, The Gambia imports 95% of its eggs and the 5% produced locally is often dodgy: the layers fed on cheap fish food and bio security ignored. The egg guy I was introduced to by a restauranteur and guy from the US started selling fresh eggs from his bicycle when he was 15. Six years later he has 5000 layers, full bio security and is expanding fast unable to satisfy demand. Meeting young entrepreneurs like this keeps me going… It is such a pleasure to support them in their passion.