New pictures, sent through what’s app. Not the best quality, this ” mist” seems to be caught inside Aliou’s phone. But still, very happy to see the progress! In the rainy season it’s harder to build, mostly because of the dirt road that leads to the compound. It gets really muddy and the trucks are having a harder time to get there. Adama decided to make the best of it and started growing water melons and Moringa. I love water melons, but won’t be able to taste them because I’m not there. My own water melons! “Don’t worry,” she said, “we’ll eat them for you”. So maybe next time…
On top of this storage- room- to – be a water tank will be placed. We’re getting closer and closer to having a shower !
HOW to build from a distance in the Gambia? Besides the people, the patience and the communication skills it takes to do business in a foreign country, here, you’ll need to be able to show what you mean. Gambian craftsmen can create many things as long as long as you can show them what you’d like them to make.
You’d think in times like these, these things would be easy. Smartphones, What’s app, internet and Pinterest are available to everyone,right? Wrong. You wouldn’t believe how many things we take for granted, just don’t work like that here. So, back to oldschool, but very reliable, paper, glue, rulers and pencils. And for these past years, I ve been taking my scrapbooks, camera and paper notebooks with me everywhere I go.
What also turned out to be a good idea: me and my friend Adama both have this same book “Eco Hotels”, she’s got it in the Gambia, I’ve got one at home in the Netherlands.
On the phone, I can point out what I mean, simply by telling her the page number. And, then, when What’s app does
work (which means the smartphone is charged, internet credit is topped up, and internet does work fast enough) and fresh building pictures are coming in, one by one, it’s just magic!
Not a very sexy subject, but it needed to be done. Because without it, things will get even less sexy very soon… And living “off the grid”, you’ll need to build your own sewerage; a “suck away”. When it’s full (of only waste water in my case), simply order a truck to come and suck it out, or build another one, somewhere else in your compound.
This is Uncle “Fitti-fitti-fat-fat”, a nickname meaning something like “Speedy Gonzalez”. He owes his name to being a really fast and organized builder. “Fat-fat” means “fast”, as in “really fast”, or “hurry, hurry”. He’s been my foreman for a while now, and I am happy to work with him. I wonder what he’s doing now it’s raining…
Fresh pictures provided by Aliou:
I just got back from the Gambia and have a lot of new pictures to show and stories to tell. Let me start with a masterpiece. I took a picture of an old bookcover to Alagie’s workplace and this is what he made. My idea, but definitely Alagie “Weldaman” (wearing the brown shirt and hat) ’s gate!