Situka, Farming, Guitars and a Hot New Night Club

January 16, 2009
9:02pm – My new room in Sikuta

- Settled in to new room in Situka
- Started evening math tutoring
- 4 guitars in Africa?
- Farming, how hard can it be?
- Islamic – Christian scholars dialog
- And there is an outdoor night club just down block

Sikuta is alive – well at least outside my room. The constant bustle of activity parades in, out and by my door as I type. The days here are full of activity, curiosity and smiling faces. I have been well accepted and received a health balance of celebrity and outcast experiences.

I have begun teaching/tutoring (aka. lion taming) during the evenings. The students are eager to learn so far I have been focusing on Math which I have been informed is the weakness amongst most Gambian students. Based on the change I tend to receive when buying things it is easy to believe. It takes some unwind from a sessions worth of frustrations – there are only so many ways to teach that zero times anything is zero.

In the next weeks there are plans to add an English and eventually a guitar class. Since arriving I have had three broken guitars brought to my room all of which I’ve been able to repair to a playable condition. When I start teaching I’ll have 4 guitars to work with.

During the day most adults are working and the kids are in school so to fill my time I have drove head on into an agricultural project. The compound owns ~3 hectors of land most of which is growing wild. So there is a huge potential if I can inspire the community to take interest.

I immediately booked a few meetings with a few key players in the region and after two days of very productive meetings with NGOs (non government organizations), foreign business men and agricultural scholars my mind is exploding with ideas.

Gathering a fair amount of curiosity from the locals I wander around the compound collecting “junk”. Old tires, buckets, rice bags, cans, water sacs and old bug nets all potential tools and supplies. I have also starting some composting buckets in the kitchen or outdoor cooking areas.

Taking stock of the tool/s situation (nothing) I made my way to Kanifing and put some money down to buy the best tools I could find (not saying a lot). A student of Kodak’s 5 “S” program I immediately involved some of the interested in setting up a tool rack for their proper storage.

It is exciting to see the interest from many of the young men. On yesterday’s visit to the Gambia is Good (or GIG farm) run by Concern Universal I had 5 guys come along – one of which is Musa Fatty. Granted we will see how many show up to dig the 8’ x 8’ x 4’ composting pit on Monday.

I have received a tremendous amount of support from Pastor Modu and his wife Mariama. We have spent a number of meals and car rides discussing vision. They have had the desire to start something (shown in their foresight to buy land) but their timetable are typically well booked time and energy to invest in such projects are limited.
It has been fascinating sharing ideas, Modu is fast becoming a leader in the dialog between the Islamic and Christian faiths. Holding a weekly dialog with prominent Islamic scholars from the area, he is bridging the gaps and offering a olive branch to the surrounding community. I have much to learn in this area and it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes of global new to understand the relevance and important of these discussions. Self taught and no credentials to his name, his desk is littered with letters to inviting him to speak international conferences in Africa and Europe. I’m humbled to be in such close proximity.

Anyways, my legs have just gone to sleep from sitting here and I should really go grab a bite to eat before bed. It could be a long night the local dance hall has just started up for the night and one might think they just invested in a new high powered PA (apparently it sometimes goes to 5-6am).

Thanks for reading and all your prayers.

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