My Gambia shopping list

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This time next week I’ll be working in The Gambia, painting, plastering, bricklaying, gardening, taking photos and writing – so it’s time to do a shopping list of what I need to buy before I go.

The charity I’ll be working with, BACE, has helpfully sent all volunteers a list of “essential items” which they really should pack. Imodium, toilet roll, bags in which to put used toilet roll and wet wipes are top of the list, which is a bit of a worry!

I guess that is in case the local food doesn’t agree with people or in case they pick up a germ along the way.

I’m hoping the local food will agree with me, as it sounds quite delicious. We’ve been told that breakfast will be bread and fruit and that at lunchtime local people will be cooking for us, with dishes usually being rice in a tasty sauce and sometimes chicken.

In case the local food doesn’t appeal or worries those who have anything less than a cast iron constitution, volunteers have also been advised to take Marmite, vegemite or peanut butter with them, so that at lunchtime they have something to put onto the freshly made bread. Volunteers are also advised to take a few cereal bars and biscuits too.

The shopping list also includes insect repellent, bite cream (as I’m told I will definitely get bitten) gardening gloves, a paint tray and roller, a sun hat (as apparently there is little shade where we will be working) and a travel kettle if I can find one, so that I can have a tea or coffee before what the charity tells me are some very “early starts”.

A good paperback did not make it onto the list of “things to pack” unfortunately, but a beach towel did, which suggests I might be getting some time off to relax and soak up the sun. Fingers crossed!

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