What our volunteers say about us
Lucia and Asun
It was my mum's birthday and she always wanted to do some charity work in Africa so, I thought a trip to Madina it would be a beautiful birthday present. In fact, we both loved it!!! It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience so we have been back already this year.
It was really nice to see all our Gambian friends again, they always make us feel welcomed and like at home.
Our favourite part of the trip in 2017 has been "The Sweet Day" for all the children and teachers from the school and WYCE staff. We brought 20kg of chocolate from Spain and we bought 117 loaves of bread from WYCE bakery to make little sandwiches( it's a typical Spanish snack). We managed to prepare it on time with some help from Gill and Iain, other volunteers who stayed at the lodge at the same time than us.
We have met great WYCE people in the UK and in the Gambia specially Gail, she is a unique, special, generous and funny woman.
Madina will always be in our hearts.
Thank you, gracias and abaraka.
From my short time in The Gambia I was still able to experience and witness the inspirational culture lived by the Gambians.
The WYCE charity helped broadened my horizons; I practiced skills I wouldn’t have anywhere else. We visited WYCE’s bee farm, the local school and clinic, for a better understanding of the development culture occurring in the village. I attempted some quantity surveying – measuring and designing up the plan for a security wall around the local school. I involved myself in brick making at the school and also did some painting around the lodge.
Outside the village, we had trips to eco lodges (My Farm and Sandele) where we looked at how reusable sources of energy were being incorporated for greener living such as solar panels and micro gardens. We went to the craft markets in Senegambia where it was clear to witness the large differences between the tourist areas and the local villages. Visits to the beach and juice bar, the local fishing village and bakery, a football cinema and the crocodile farm all contributed for a diverse trip. Every aspect of the trip was very different but very enjoyable!
Whilst in The Gambia I got involved within the local community carrying out various activities including building blocks which are to be used when building the wall around the school perimeter, this included the task of measuring the perimeter and calculating the amount of materials and blocks need to complete the task and attempt to give a rough estimate regarding the price of the works. As well as visiting the Bee Farm and looking into ideas regarding the introduction of renewable energy technology within the Village and Lodge. We got to visit My Farm and Sandele to further our knowledge and understanding on renewable energy within The Gambia and the resources available. And my personal highlight refereeing the Wyce Cup Final between Forest and United, a truly unforgettable experience! All in all the experience gained from our week in The Gambia working within the village and staying at the lodge is truly outstanding, the hospitality and friendliness of the locals and everyone connected with Wyce was overwhelming, it was a life changing experience and I cannot wait to return!
As a 50 year old woman, vaguely thinking about a slightly different sort of holiday, volunteering in a rural village school in The Gambia certainly wasn’t even on my radar. However, after chatting with long-standing WYCE volunteer, Lisa Nice, and organising a few jabs, I discovered I had (terrifyingly) booked up for a month.
For crying out loud - what was I thinking of! I’m too old, there’s no b****y electricity, I’m on my own, what on earth can I offer?
I am now embarking on my third trip.
At WYCE I have been the eldest volunteer by 30+ years and the youngest by 20+ years.
Even I can sort out a few dusty books or shell some dried okra. Why would I need electricity when I am sleeping beneath the biggest, brightest stars on earth? And how could I feel alone when I am surrounded by the friendliest and most smiley people I have ever met?
If you are even the teeniest bit intrigued I really would urge anyone (young, old, singles, friends, couples, families) to make contact with me or any of the dozens of other volunteers to find out more about what it’s really like volunteering at WYCE.
My experience at WYCE in Madina Salaam has positively changed my outlook and my approach to life. It's more than just a holiday: a rewarding and inspirational experience that I look forward to repeating!! Everyday there was something fun to get involved with that was always followed by a traditional attaya tea break and home cooked meal by the amazing chef Ensa and his team!! This was where we shared stories, and friendships were formed. In a nutshell, I – with a little help from my friends - got stuck into:
reading classes with all year groups ,
help with maintaining the library,
painting and adding a splash of colour to the new waiting area for the health clinic,
helping to re-decorate the new lodge rooms,
getting involved and playing with the mother and toddler group,
being invited to naming ceremonies sharing food and dancing,
going to the local markets to choose beautiful materials to get Gambian dresses made,
learning about and bee-keeping and eating the delicious honey we had for breakfast with the local bread tapalapa which we saw getting baked
playing football with the school children,
daily beach sunrise and sunsets,
Senegal river cruise and stone circle trip.
Overall, happiness, vibrancy of colour, culinary wonderfulness, compassion and making new friends are just a few of the reasons to come and visit WYCE and explore the wonderful country of The Gambia.