Visiting the women's garden on Tuesday. They are so proud of their achievements. They grow Tomatoes and Cabbages for four months of the year. Day in day out they are watering the plants to make sure they stay alive.
One of the ladies showing us how they lift water from the well. These wells aren't deep enough for clean drinking water, they are just for the plants. Each lady has there own section of land, split into smaller squares as in the photo to the right.

A lot of children had followed us on our way to the garden, however only the females were allowed inside. This is Omar, asking the boys to stay in the street, and Wendy giving them all a final sweet, known to them as menti. And of course, we couldn't resist a dance session before we left for our tea!
The women often work with small children on their backs. These wraps are becoming more popular around the world these days, however can you imagine having to do a full days labour with a child? It's sad to see that the same situation also arises in other areas of work, such as the fish smoke houses too. They are all so strong.

The Alan Kanan ladies dance group showing us their traditional dances; including one for a bride just before she leaves to live with her husband.
Joining us for dinner, and a group photo after we had presented them with money to buy brand new professional looking uniforms. This should help them get slots in the hotels.

Eddie, our non-dancing joiner, decided he wanted to make sure each window had a proper frame. Along with his new apprentice, Graham, they managed to get these completed. These will get mosquito nets attached to them, and hopefully shutters at some point too.
Brendan, from the Gunjur Project, supporting the guys, along with trades people that were employed for the project.

The boys inspecting the large crack in the compound wall before work began. This was only a fraction of the work that needed doing.
Phil mastering the art of rendering in 33 degree heat. Looks like you missed a bit!
The same wall more or less dry only a day later. Are you proud of your work there, Andy?

A brief look at the conditions of the compound. The kitchen is an annex to the main building, and the toilet and shower are wholes in the ground around the back. The main bedroom does have a bed, but Grandma was sleeping on the floor. Hay mattresses and mosquito nets, to accessorise?

Local boys helping to make bricks for the new internal wall, and Dawn just couldn't resist having a go!
Rob, chief cement mixer, in action.
The waterproof mats the girls bought at the market. These should carpet the whole compound.

When 21 people take almost 20kg each of donated goods to Gambia, this is the result. Children's clothes of all ages, adults clothes, hygiene products, stationary, colouring and puzzle books, hand made knitted items. All of this has been split into appropriate bags and been passed to those most in need - the women's garden, girl guides, Alan Kanan amongst others.

We went on a tour of the local area on the first morning of our trip. It was both fascinating and heartbreaking to listen to the stories of the locals. This is the opticians, and yes, that is just a shelf of donated eye glasses. There was an eye-chart on another wall too. Nothing like we have at home.
The medical centre from the outside. This housed both the GP surgery and the opticians above. There are very little facilities or equiipment. This is used purely for cuts and bruises level of medicine. For anything more serious, they are sent straight to the hospital.
A photo of the GP, look at that smile. He was proud of the fact we wanted to see his surgery, and extremely welcoming.

A few pics of the fishing beach. There were boats everywhere, of course, but they were so beautifully made. It's almost hard to believe that people take such care in their craftsmanship when they have nothing at home. It's extremely humbling!
The smoke house above was for women only. The men have separate houses as they are not allowed to work together. As you can see, there is no recycling here! A major contrast to the stunning tourist beaches of Gambia.

It was gutting to be informed we had to leave The Gambia earlier than planned, with only 2 days working on the compound and so many new people to meet we all wanted to stay. Below is our intended timetable, and a selection of activities the lodge put on when we were stuck inside.
We were able to get involved with everything or nothing, just as much as we wanted to. Playing in the pool trying to cool off, painting our own mini Djembe drums and learning how to make Wonjo and Baobab juices. Oh, and Wendy teaching Sean how to jive!

And it's easy to see that the staff feel the same. After only two days they knew the majority of our names - or was that just the ones who drank too much beer?! An amazing team that the Lodge should be extremely proud of.
What a fantastic group of people. Considering not many of us knew one another before the trip, we are coming away with friends for life. Jenny, Brendan, Jo, Butch and Charlie welcomed us as family.

Look at that sky!! Here are just a few photos of the Lodge we stayed in.
The Kasbah, a little souvenir shop, selling the locally made preserves we had for breakfast along with clothing and jewellery.
The dining and social area, which of course we managed to make into a dance floor.
And the pool area, who wouldn't want to spend time here?

50 Delasi is the equivalent of £1 - we felt like millionaires!
A local band came in to play for us, two Djembe players and a Kora player in the middle. A local instrument similar to a guitar style harp.
There was a buzz at this market stall, when we asked we were told it was the best place to buy frozen chicken!!
Jeannie had traditional dress made for her and her hubby in locally bought material. Phil couldn't resist trying it on!

The local's absolutely love having visitors. And not just for the lolly pops! Self-titled Selfie Queen over here in her absolute element! How many people can we get in before Amy falls over?!!