Sibanor

The journey up-country to Sibanor Village was one I’d never forget – mango tree after mango tree dripping with golden ripe mangoes ready to be picked. Green rice fields, palm trees, chickens, goats, cows, donkeys, horses, cats, dogs, exotic birds, old tin corner shops that sell anything imaginable. Children with rags for clothes walking on the side of the road playing with each other or minding 2 or 3 goats. Broken down trucks overloaded with freight. “Gally-Gally” or taxies packed full of people like sardines and with double the load on the roof with items such as sofa lounges, wood, luggage, goats and chickens. Women dressed in colourful material with babies on their back carrying pales of water or bags of food on their heads. Groups of men sleeping or chatting under mango trees playing cards. Village life seemed peaceful and stress free.
We arrived at the Sibanor Health Clinic compound where we were shown to the house where we would be staying in for the rest of our time here in The Gambia. From all accounts before our arrival we had the impression that we would be without electricity – so we were prepared for no luxuries! Needless to say, we were surprised and thankful to be shown to the largest house in the compound with air conditioning in the main bedroom (and probably the only air conditioned room in the whole of Sibanor), lights, running water (only cold), a fridge and a working oven with gas stove! I wanted to jump up and down with excitement but then felt almost guilty and shameful to have such luxuries while there are people getting by without these only 50 metres from us. We are so fragile compared to the strong people of Africa who get by with smiles on their faces without the luxuries of electricity, running water or their own room with a mattress to sleep on.
The first night was interesting. The power was cut for the night so our rechargeable batteries, torches and lamps came in handy! There was a big storm with thunder and lightning that sounded like it was about 1 metre from our house. The bats made screeching sounds all night and the birds, goats, donkeys and roosters started their morning calls well before 5am. Although we did not get much sleep that night I didn’t matter because we felt like it was Sibanor’s way of giving us a warm welcome. It was so nice to finally be where we knew God wanted us for the next couple of months.

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