It’s hard to believe, but in less than 48 hours, I will be beginning the first leg of my trip with my mom to Amsterdam. I have never been to Amsterdam, Brussels or Bruges, and I am excited to get to spend some time adventuring with my mom, museum-ing, walking, photographing and eating, which happen to be four of our favorite shared activities. For now, I am finishing errands, packing, and squeezing in what I can of San Francisco. The last few days, I have alternated between giddy excitement and what can only be interpreted as a very high case of nerves. I know this is going to be an incredible experience and I just can’t wait to get started.
In case, like me, your background on The Gambia was limited until very recently:
- Approximately 1.7 million people live in The Gambia.
- The current president of The Gambia is His Excellency Sheikh Professor Al Haji Dr Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh.
- The Gambia is less than 30 miles wide at its widest point.
- The Gambia is known for their music and dance (won’t they be disappointed when they see me try…)
- The Gambia gained independence from Britain in 1965 and was declared a republic in 1970.
- Agriculture (peanuts, livestock, fishing and forestry) account for 30% of the country’s GDP.
- Almost 33% of the country’s population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.
- The Gambia is ranked 168 out of 187 on the Human Development Index, which serves as a measure of life expectancy, education and income.
- Life expectancy at birth in The Gambia is 58.5 years.
- The expected and mean years of schooling in The Gambia is only 0.334 years.
- The Gambia has provided the MLS with many players over the past 10 years, and soccer is a favorite national pastime.
- There is no national religion established, but approximately 90% of the country’s population practices Islam.
( YMCA Hostel in Banjul )