Eating sand and running away from rhino

It’s the last day of our exchange so lets look back to some of the most unforgettably weird and not-so-lucky moments of it.

1. Finnish-Gambians – Almost daily we heard the phrase ”terve terve, mitä kuuluu, kukkuluuruu” when walking past some Gambians, but we have also randomly met two Gambian guys who really were able to speak Finnish. First one was when we visited the biggest public hospital in Gambia. Our guide had studied in Finland and in Sweden and spoke very fluently both languages, Swedish even better than most of us Finns. Second guy was even more surprising because we met him on the ferry on our way to safari. He heard us speaking Finnish and started talking with us – with very fluent Finnish as well. He had lived in Finland for many years, and even in the same city as we!

2. Pests – From the first day on we have seen many creatures, mostly in our hotel. On the first night I almost stepped on a big crab and many of us have seen even a bigger rat running around here. Every room has many kinds of bugs, even cockroaches. One of us woke up one night with a cockroach on his face.

3. Diarrhea – This was expected. Only two of us survived without it. Bristol scale was very much used.

4.  Hotel – The hotels in Gambia aren’t as high-quality as in the hotels usually are in Finland. Only four of us were happy with their hotel room from the first day on. All the rest of us have changed the rooms at least once, some even three times. Biggest problem has been mold that you were even possible to see on the walls of some of the rooms. Once one door also fell down when the wall broke down under the hinge.

5. Wedding – We were invated to a random wedding as guests of honor. The wedding started after four hours of waiting. All the white people sat in a tent eating rice and chicken (spiced with a bit of sand) when all the other guests sat outside, without getting any food.

6. Flood – After we got to the hotel from the wedding two of us noticed that their room was flooding – because they had forgotten the tap on. The cleaner came to help with a towel, two buckets and a small shovel which was very absurd since the whole room was like a small pool. There was 20 litres of water there, so we used all of our towels to help him. Luckily he told us this has happened before.

7. Tsunami?!? -As our hotel was at the beach some (or one) of us was always thinking what would happen if (or when) a tsunami would hit here. Then one night, the alarms went off. Twice. It was a false fire alarm though but some (or one) of us kept an eye on the sea all night. 🙂

8. Safari – People here drive like crazy but when you sit on the back of a pickup truck driving 80km/h speed it’s not only scary but also very annoying and you feel like your face will fly off. That’s what happened on Saturday when we went for a day trip to Senegal for a safari. On the safari we for example saw a rhino that had killed his own girlfriend. Our group was told he’s called Johnny but other group was calling him Kevin. Soon Johnny-Kevin was running after us and got guite close before both of our drivers got our groups away from him. Later some horseflies attacked us at least as aggressively as Johnny-Kevin and that time we weren’t left without scars. Still alive though.

Anyhow the past two weeks have been positively unforgettable and educational. We <3 Gambia!


-Henriikka & Essi



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