Today is the day — our trip is over. I have a shower and pay the two nights at the One World Guesthouse. We say goodbye to Natillas, a cat who was with us during our stay in Bakau. We walk for 15 minutes to the Kachikally Crocodile Swimming Pool which is meant to be a sacred place for some sort of beliefs. We pay the entrance (100 dalasi) and a “guide” shows us the only crocodile who is on land. The rest are underwater since according to him “it’s too warm outside”. It is possible to touch the crocodile and take photos with it. This is because they never feed them with meat or flesh, just with fish. Therefore, the crocodiles are never attracted by animal blood and don’t attack humans. We give the “guide” a tip and go visit the museum. It is quite small and not well preserved. It explains some of the traditions of the people around the area as well as the history of Bakau.
We walk another 15 minutes to the EU Delegation in The Gambia. We had arranged via email a meeting with the head delegate: Mr. Meer. The building is highly protected and we have to go through several security checks before entering the place. We wash our hands, collect our accreditations and wait in a room until Mr. Meer arrives. The delegation is a proper office which doesn’t look very different from any other diplomatic office in any other country. It has AC and a good security system. We meet Mr. Meer and have a long chat about the EU interests in the country, their mission and the current politics of The Gambia. We found it to be very interesting. We realize time was running out — it was 12:30AM and our flight was leaving in three hours. We are lucky enough to meet our driver at the exit and quickly head to the airport. Once on the road, he explains to us his uncle just passed away and we show him our condolences. We arrive at the airport and after a long, uncomfortable and slow security and immigration process, we embark our plane.
My trip to The Gambia has been eye-opening. As I mentioned earlier, I had been wanting to visit West Africa for a long time and now I feel fulfilled and happy. Is The Gambia similar to what I expected? — definitely not, in a lot of senses, but I’ll leave those remarks for myself since they can be controversial. We’ve seen poverty, lack of development and a country which overall is struggling to leave the bottom of the richest countries in the world. However, we’ve also seen happiness, good vibes, friendly and optimistic people, faith in democracy and will to change this country. I’ll keep the good things in my memory and I will reflect on the bad ones. Now, I’m really looking forward to visiting more West-African countries in the future. Probably Senegal and Mauritania next year, who knows.
Thank you very much and see you soon, smiling coast of Africa.