Category Archives: San Francisco

48 Hours!

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.
So…next time I post, I will be on my way or have already arrived in Banjul. I can’t wait, and please everyone keep in touch. See you in 8 weeks-and if anyone else out there is keeping a travel or other kind of blog this summer please send it along.
P.S. Thank you Mike for meeting with me this week and calming my nerves a little bit, my parents for putting up with my nerves, and my personal DJ Kendyl Klein for providing me with a soundtrack for my trip.


 ( YMCA Hostel in Banjul ) 


The Countdown Begins!

I have created this blog to serve as a travel journal for my 8 week adventure to The Gambia this summer. I just finished my sophomore year of college at CMC, so what better time to travel 6,492 miles away for a summer internship?! The Center for Human Rights Leadership at CMC has been a great help to me in terms of planning and funding my internship, and Mike McConnell, a close friend of my father’s and the former director of the Peace Corps in the Gambia, has given me wonderful guidance and advice throughout this entire process. On June 15, my mom and I will be flying to Amsterdam, Brussels and Bruges for 5 days, after which I will hop on a plane and fly to Banjul, the capital city in the smallest country on mainland Africa. For 8 weeks, I will be working with an institution very familiar to me, the YMCA, in a country and lifestyle that is definitely not.

I have secured an internship at the YMCA in Banjul, where I will also be living. The YMCA’s website can be found at I will be working in the Computer Training Center and Digital Studio, helping with technology and documentary education for local children and schools, and getting to coach some basketball on the side. Needless to say, this is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and I am counting down the minutes until I board that plane. Until then, enjoying what we call “summer” in San Francisco, probably called “fog and wind” for the rest of you.

The concept of a blog is pretty new to me, but here’s hoping I can somehow put into words my travels and experiences this summer.