Published: July 25th 2012July 24th 2012
It’s been almost a week since I left Basse. I’m not sure where the time has gone. It always seems to go faster here in Kombo. I had very mixed emotions about leaving. Lamin came up on the Tuesday and I spent most of Wednesday packing up my little house. I managed to hold back any tears until Adama, my lovely little friend, came into my room and gave me a length of material with some little plastic earrings and a ring wrapped up in it.
My last night was a bit all over the place. We’d planned to cook for the whole compound, or rather I’d planned for Lamin to cook for the whole compound, but at around 3 o’clock Binta had some terrible news that her brother had been killed in a car crash just outside Basse. Lamin left me with preparations to do and took her, Fatou and Tako off to her home village in the car. They came back about an hour later saying they had to go back at half seven for the burial. This is a concept that never fails to astound me. Of course they have to bury bodies quickly here
My last hug with little Sarah
who I reckon is quite possibly the cutest baby ever! She's actually sitting in my suitcase because I'm bringing her home!
because there is nowhere to store them and with the heat you have to do it within 24 hours. It’s a very scary thought that someone could be alive and well at lunch time but dead and buried by dinner time. They’re remarkably accepting of it though. It’s just the way things are.
So Lamin managed to cook domada for 15 of us in between taking people to and attending the funeral himself. We did manage to have a little fun as we exchanged gifts. The kids sat in my house for the last evening and we managed to get the final episodes of Narnia watched.
The next morning we packed up the car. I was feeling ok about it all until it was about time to go. Suddenly everyone was standing around not saying much looking like they were all going to burst into tears. Tako started off which got me going and then that was it, tears flowed aplenty. It wasn’t too sad though, not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I do feel like I will see them all again so I left saying see you
My Gambian family
From left to right:
Adama (not happy that I'm leaving!) Fatou (Adama's mam), Me! Tako, Isatu (Samba's granddaughter), Hawa (Isatu's friend who's staying on the compound long term), Lamin, (Adama's younger brother), a head of a child from somewhere along the street, not sure who that is!, Esther, (Adama's older sister),
And along the bottom: Neema (Binta's daughter, Adama's half sister), Jenaba (Neema's sister). Sadly Samba and Makoly had to got to work so I missed them.
soon rather than goodbye.
My compound family have just been so lovely. I’ve felt like one of the family and I’ve honestly felt truly privileged for having the opportunity to live with them. Many of the volunteers here don’t get to live on family compounds which means on the one hand they get a lot more peace but on the other they don’t get to see what life is truly like here. I definitely appreciate having the chance to experience it all. I absolutely promise to stay in touch with them. There it’s here in writing for all to see. I’ll miss them all very much indeed.