... the road conditions are likely to be pretty bad. These are no more than logging roads so we will not be covering more than 40km each day.”
Charlie Curtis : 28th April

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March | May | June | July | August

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View Diary pages of the route so far
Starting from their departure in London on 14th March 2009.
Europe 14th March
Andorra 17th March
Gibraltar 19th March
Morocco 20th March
Western Sahara
25th March
26th March
30th March
The Gambia
4th April
Senegal again!
8th April
Guinea Bissau
9th April
11th April
Sierra Leone 18th April
Liberia 27th April
Côte d’Ivoire 4th May
Burkina Faso 8th May
Ghana 22nd May
Togo 16th June
Benin 16th June
Nigeria 20th June
Cameroon 16th July
Gabon 30th July
Congo 6th August

Click the photos to see the gallery of Guinea

A short drive from Conakry in Guinea took us over the border into Sierra Leone for our first stop. Yet another beautiful African country. We really are getting hooked on Africa”.
Charlie Curtis : 18th April

Click the photos to see the gallery of Sierra Leone

Click the photos to see the gallery of Sierra Leone

Click the photos to see the gallery of Sierra Leone

Click the photos to see the gallery of Sierra Leone

Click the photos to see the gallery of Guinea

Click the photos to see the gallery of Guinea Bissau

Click the photos to see the gallery of Guinea Bissau

Click the photos to see the gallery of The Gambia

Click the photos to see the gallery of The Gambia

Click the photos to see the gallery of The Gambia

Click the photos to see the gallery of Senegal

Click the photos to see the gallery of Senegal

Click the photos to see the gallery of Senegal

Imagery: ©2009 Terrametrics
Map data: ©2009 Europa Technologies

30th April : Rain Forest Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

We are deep in the rainforest ...
... it’s very wet!

29th April : Liberia, Rainfoest

The roads were exactly what we had imagined. From the air you would see just a thin red line cutting straight through the middle of a sea of green. The scenery was like a film set. Thick vegetation met the road on all sides interspersed sparsely with small villages of mud brick and straw huts.

During the day we could hear the screeches of monkeys through the trees and by night a million crickets chirped. The floor was a habitat of its own with spiders, millipedes and scorpions of a size I hoped never to see.

This environment of course made the driving the most intense we have experienced. During our three day drive we came across dozens of trucks and cars abandoned in the mud. We were able to pull out a couple that had not been stuck long and rather smugly cruised back through ourselves with no real difficulty.

Lola once again showed that she is capable of far more than we ever gave her credit. We drove through sections of mud deep enough to swallow trucks to the axles and troughs of water which flowed up over the bonnet.

She took it all in her stride. Eventually something had to give though. We began to hear a loud banging sound whenever we hit bumps and soon discovered it was most likely the drive shaft. After 5 hours under the car in almost 50% humidity we removed the drive shaft and front half shafts and reversing our trick in Guinea, ran the car on just the rear wheels until we could find a replacement in the border town near Harper. (At this point I must apologise to those readers with little or no interest in our mechanical endeavours. We however are quite proud of just how much we have learned on our journey so far).

29th April : Monrovia Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

Continue through the rain forest. After heavy rainfall the logging roads heavy going; At times ‘lola’ is up to her axles in mud but manages to pull through everything. In fact we rescue several 4x4 stuck on the mud on route.

Progress is slow. So far these are the worst roads we have encountered in Africa. Ditches, 4 feet deep straddle the road and we have to creep through the forest to cross the gullies.

28th April : Monrovia Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

Leaving Monrovia today and heading east; Road conditions are likely to be pretty bad. Logging roads deteriorate rapidly especially after rainfall, so we will not be covering more than 40km each day.

Security situation is stable with no rebel activity reported. Heading through the rainforest we reach One Way Village (we didn’t establish the origin of the name, hopefully nothing sinister) for our overnight stop.

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28th April : Monrovia

During our time in Africa, we have been lucky to have the advice of Tom, a friend who works for an African risk assessment firm. In spite of his firm’s warning that we shouldn’t even enter Liberia, he put us in touch with a local Brit. Once again we were showered with expat hospitality.

Will is the COO of a British mining company, Hummingbird Resources. Having never even heard of us before and on the basis of a single email he took us into his home, fed us, watered us (beer) and gave us beds and showers again. He also gave us the real run down on the situation in Liberia. He agreed with us in thinking it absurd that this country should still have such a poor reputation and was amazed to read the foreign office report we had.

He gave us directions to the border with Cote d’Ivoire. We had two choices. One took us along the main roads to Zwedru and then through to the border. The other took us through the middle of the rainforest on logging roads. He hadn’t driven this route personally but knew a local guy who had done it and said that while difficult was possible; assuming the rains hadn’t done too much damage. Always ready for a challenge, we chose the route through the rainforest. We were not to be disappointed.

27th April : Monrovia Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

The influence of America in Liberia is immediately obvious. Rap music is played everywhere and instead of being called ‘white man’ we were just called ‘man’.

In spite of the huge military presence (we crossed 12 military checkpoints in 2 hours) on route to Monrovia we saw no signs of aggression. Monrovia itself was the same. Plenty of military activity and UN patrols, but no signs of trouble.

While in town we were approached by a local man who was interested in our work for HIV. He took me to meet the head of the Lutheran church in Liberia which runs the largest HIV programme in the country. Their work was very inventive and showed great awareness of the problems in tackling HIV; principally, the need to educate people about the shortcomings of traditional practices. Hygiene issues in traditional midwifery being a significant factor in the spread of HIV from midwives to birthing mothers. The solution was a kit with surgical gloves, antiseptic and an information leaflet in all local dialects. Pregnant women in their third trimester gave these to their midwives at the point of labour; simple yet effective.

27th April : Liberia Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

Getting to the Liberian border with 5 minutes to spare before it closed we were hurried through.

Sad to say goodbye to Sierra Leone and somewhat nervous about entering a country which the lonely planet still describes as ‘inaccessible to visitors due to continuing hostilities.’ The chaps sporting combats, aviators and M16s did nothing to reassure us.

Although the huge woman who headed up the border police did invite us to stay with her, which prospect, whilst alarming, demonstrated unexpected signs of hospitality. We chose to take our chances with the rebels.

25th April : Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone on Tiwi Island, a primate nature reserve.

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24th April : Sierra Leone Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

In Sierra Leone near Bo in a Bush Camp in the rainforest.

23rd April : Freetown

Our first night back in Freetown itself was spent on the main beach. The first rain we had seen since leaving the UK came from nowhere. It did not stop for 24 hours. Within minutes the roads were flooded.

Finally managing to get to sleep with the rain pounding on the tent we were awoken by a tapping on the car. Sticking our heads out we found the tapping came from an AK-47 that was attached to a silhouette in full combat gear. Worryingly his five comrades also had machine guns. After a few minutes it transpired they were actually police, luckily, come to take us to the station to camp as it was not considered safe in that part of town.

So far in each country we had spent a large proportion of our time in garages. Sierra Leone was no exception. The alternator was still playing up and refitting the old one made no difference. We spent three days going from garage to garage until finally someone figured out the problem. It was the starter motor shorting out.

Our nights during this period were spent in town chatting with local guys and dodging the multitude of hookers that abound. Especially the one we saw on the first night fending off an aggressive client with a metal bar.

With the car fixed up and our visas for Liberia sorted we headed for the border.

22nd April : York, near Freetown

21st April : York, near Freetown

We soon found our way further south to spend days on the most beautiful beaches we had ever seen with names like York, Waterloo and Kent. Rainforest covered hills rolled down to brilliant white sands and palm trees. We spent our time snorkelling around half sunken wrecks and cooking fish caught minutes before.

It was in York that we met Joris a Dutch guy who had previously travelled through the country and had now returned to start his own business here. After only a few days in the country we understood why.

It was also here that we spent a night with three people each with very unique perspectives on the war. At the age of 38, Samuel saw the war from the eyes of a father trying to protect his family. Every day he described as a fight for survival having to wait until nightfall before risking any movement to find food and water for his children. One day he was away from his village looking for food in a neighboring town when the RUF came looking for soldiers. At this point they had stopped recruiting adults, in preference for the famed ‘child soldiers’. Who put up less resistance and were easier to control. Unfortunately for Samuel, his son at the age of 8 was a prime candidate.

His wife was unable to stop them taking her son. She was assaulted and beaten, and lucky not to lose her life. The remaining men in the village who put up a fight were given the choice; ‘Short sleeves or long sleeves.’ This referred to losing their arms at the elbow or the hand at the wrist. This calling card is still obvious around the country today.

Samuel’s son was given a rifle and drugs to keep him docile and controllable. He was forced to kill indiscriminately. He survived the war and currently lives with other ex child-soldiers in a community outside Freetown where he continues to get counseling for his ordeal. Samuel still hopes he will be able to welcome his son back into his family soon. The two other people we spoke with that night were local school children. They had been too young to be taken as soldiers during the war, but both felt the impact. They had lost their fathers to rebel soldiers, and one also lost his mother and baby sister in a brutal episode. The worst is that these children know the killers who after the war have returned to normal life amongst those they persecuted. Vigilante justice remains low, but the look of hatred in their young eyes was unmistakable. However rather deflated they declare that there has been too much fighting and bloodshed. They must look forward to peace rather than revenge. As Samuel commented, not a single person in Sierra Leone has been unaffected by the war.

20th April : Sierra Leone, Freetown

The capital Freetown is remarkably relaxed; most likely because it runs along the coast. On entering with our British flag flapping in the wind up front we were met with waves and smiles.

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19th April : Freetown Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

On our second day in the country we had our first insight into the country. We met a local guy in a small town who helped us find somewhere to camp for the night. The following morning we offered him a lift to Freetown. He was a young university engineering graduate, the same age as us. Apparently university education is becoming commonplace in Sierra Leone.

Unfortunately this just means that there are more unemployed graduates. The war destroyed lives, homes and families. It also destroyed the economy. Sierra Leone is rich in natural resources. It is famed, in some ways unfortunately, not only for its diamonds, but also gold, bauxite, iron ore and even platinum.

Before the war these were mined in abundance by companies from around the world, mainly European and the UK in particular. Inevitably, during the war, these companies pulled out and few have returned. The country was left with empty mines and rusting machinery. Now there is no work. Nobody wants to leave their country but there are simply no jobs anywhere, for anyone. With the infrastructure in place from before the war, the country has all it needs to grow and develop again, but it needs guidance it. Iham told us the same thing we had heard across the country. They need businesses to return. They do not want charity. They want jobs. They want to be taught how to run the mines and operate the machinery so that they can begin to make use of the natural resources at their disposal. They have enough resources at their fingertips to last for years to come. We were asked us to come back with companies, and with work. That is exactly what we hope to do.

18th April : Sierra Leone

The crossing from Guinea Conakry to Sierra Leone was the biggest change we have seen on the trip so far. Trying to exit Guinea without a ‘laissez passer’ for the car we were finally caught out and only just managed to fob them off with the ‘Carnet’. (The Carnet is a duplicate form which we need to complete on entry and exit to each country. This is to prevent unauthorised importation of vehicles.)

On driving through into Sierra Leone we were immediately surrounded by soldiers with massive grins on their faces eager to shake hands and talk to us. By far the friendliest reception we have had on this trip and far away from what we expected of this country famed most (sadly) for its horrifying past This theme was to continue as we drove through to Freetown the capital. As with most of our trip we were stopped frequently by police and military checkpoints. The difference in Sierra Leone was that not a single person asked us for money or even for a ‘cadeaux’.

Everyone wanted to just chat with us. Our stories of travelling from London by road were met with disbelief and again the familiar grin and hand shake. Everyone seemed genuinely pleased to see us and for us to be travelling in their country. There persists in Sierra Leone a flattering yet somewhat embarrassing legacy of colonialist Britain. Throughout Senegal and the Guineas we were called ‘photi’ (Whiteman) either to our faces by military or shouted out by children as we drove past. In Sierra Leone the British are still referred to us as colonial masters..

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14th April : Conakry, Guinea Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

Finally pulling into the capital we found the help we needed; in the form of Nick, an expat working for a mining company. Following a brief chat while stuck in traffic, we met up for lunch and a chat. Nick is the captain of the survey boat for a mining company out here; an Englishman and as it turned out, very generous.

He took us to the only Land Rover specialist in the country to get the car sorted and offered us the night in his company compound. Beds, hot showers and cold beers!! The next couple of days were fantastic for us and terrible for the car. The mechanics winched it up on the most rickety frame I have ever seen. The rope they were using broke twice, but eventually they got it onto a stand. Well, a pile of rocks and a bit of wood.

We came back an hour later to find the rear axle removed and a lot of bits of twisted metal extracted from our diff. We had really torn it to pieces. Eventually, 48 hours later, the car was back on the road. The chief mechanic there, Mahmoud, was a magician. He knew Land Rovers better than anyone I had ever met and managed to source mostly new parts from goodness knows where.

Time to move on but with all the banks in the city currently down we were not able to leave until morning so took up a kind invitation to spend the night at the embassy. It’s not quite the compound, but at least they’ve got a pool.

13th April : On the coast in Guinea

Decide to head for the coast.

11th April : Bissau & Conakry Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

The border between Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry is confusing at best. We spent the night at what we thought was the border. We had our passports stamped with exit stamps, the car was checked and more documents filled out and we bid farewell to Guinea Bissau. We drove down a dirt track through the forests and small villages for an hour.

We passed another military checkpoint. They didn't even seem to know whether we had crossed into Guinea Conakry. Finally we hit a river with a ferry. And next to the ferry a lorry which had apparently slid backwards into the water, with just the cab protruding. Taking photos in disbelief we were approached by a local who told us to beep the horn to get the truck driver to come across the river to take us across.

It seems that in fact the truck was part of the ferry crossing; using chains and pulleys to take the ferry across by somehow driving out of the river and up the 45 degree slope we had come down. Unfortunately we weren't able to witness this miracle as the truck was not currently in service. No massive surprise. Instead a pirogue full of locals, with Jon and I, got hold of the chain on the ferry and hauled ourselves across by hand. I love this continent.

Finally we crossed the border without incident and we were there. This country is stunning. It is without doubt the most beautiful place I have ever seen (but then again you may read me repeating myself often on this subject). We drove for hours down red dirt tracks, surrounded by dry forest with breaks in the foliage giving us sight of the spectacular mountains that cover the interior of the country. The people have also been the most friendly we have met. Pulling into a village we were given mango after mango by two tiny children. Pre-empting the standard child request for a ‘cadeaux’ we handed over some currency only to be told that in fact they were giving us a ‘cadeaux’. We nearly wept with shock and joy. Meeting the rest of the family we were again asked for nothing, and shown around their homes with pleasure. I'm pretty sure the father was trying to set his daughter up with one of us though ... After another night staying in a local village, chatting with the chief, we headed for the capital.

No tarmac here, just a dirt road and the potholes finally beat us and track rod bent again; Spent several hours dismantling and beating straight but the rod is now weakened. Needs to be replaced. We also lost the differential sump plug through vibration on the road; we used a wooden plug and sealant as a temporary repair until we get to Conakry. We had to retrace our steps to spend the night and now we have only covered 100km since out last stop; Local people tend to get to sleep late and wake at dawn so our window for sleep is small. It’s hot sleeping in the tent and very noisy with variety of animal sounds breaking the silence; Still it's like living in the pages of National Geographic ...

All was going well until the car started playing up. I say playing up; with a bump and a grind the prop shaft fell off at 50 mph. Not brilliant. Stuck in the middle of nowhere we picked up the debris and limped into a local mechanic who soon discovered the rear differential had seized up. The bung (a wooden bung used to replace the original which had fallen off earlier) had disappeared inside. We pulled the differential out to discover shards of metal and a lot of loose bearings.

All was going well until the car started playing up. I say playing up; with a bump and a grind the prop shaft fell off at 50 mph. Not brilliant.”

Unfortunately no amount of hammering would loosen the prop connection so we pulled out the half shafts (for those not mechanically minded you can skip this bit), and put it on diff lock to limp on with just front wheel drive to the capital Conakry in the hope of more help.
But first we had to get there. This proved tricky as we were running low on diesel and not helped by being pulled over by yet another military checkpoint (the sixth of the day) and spent 2 hours more frustrated than ever before. First we were asked for our tourist permit (this does not exist), then he refused to accept our international driving licenses were valid as they only had a start date. At his point the car which was idling away finally ran out of diesel and died.
With no local currency we were stuck there. The police did not like this as they had finally decided it was time for us to move on. Eventually a bloke on a motorbike turned up with a jerry can of diesel which he agreed to sell us for CFA (the local currency).

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10th April

On route to Guinea border. Leave Bissau for Guinea. Camped alongside the police checkpoint at the border crossing; We are crossing over at first light into Guinea and heading for Conakry.

9th April : Bissau Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

Guinea Bissau was a massive change as we moved into a tropical country covered in mangroves. Our first introduction to them was in our ferry crossing over a river after the border. Waiting in a queue for hours we were amazed to see vans and cars pull up full to bursting point with animals. Pigs, chickens, goats; whatever they could fit. And when they ran out of space inside they just strapped them to the roof!

The ferry itself proved interesting as they forced on as many cars as possible, with touch parking an absolute requirement. We had to climb out of the windows and sit on the roof for the crossing. With night approaching we stopped in a small village and asked if we could camp up. We were taken to a house where the young guys living there showered us with excited questions in broken English and Portuguese.

Eventually we brought out the universal language barrier breaker, UNO; (A card game to those uninitiated). Within 10 minutes most of them had picked up the rules and there followed 4 hours of some the most intense UNO ever played. They loved it, apart from a guy called Tupac, who had no clue what was going on; ever;

Driving into Bissau, the capital, the next day we were somewhat concerned as the President had been assassinated only a month before we arrived and we weren't really sure what we would face. Seeing his residence on entering the city we were less than reassured. It is riddled with bullet holes from an earlier attack in 2008. But again we saw nothing but smiles. Having dropped off our passports at the Guinea embassy for visas we headed to the most popular cafe in town for a coffee. This is where all the top officials and wealthy foreigners hang out. The front was awash with Mercedes, BMWs and Jaguars. This was at odds with Guinea Bissau being one of the poorest countries in the world.

It is now one of the most popular places (especially the port town of Bissau) for drug traffickers transporting from South America to Europe. Chatting with a wealthy South American, with a shirt open to the waist and a gold chain felt bizarrely exhilarating. Despite all the warnings (we do seem to ignore warnings don’t we), we spent the night sleeping in our roof tent in the street next to this cafe and fortunately had no problems whatsoever. Don't believe all the warnings about this country.

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8th April : Casamance Region

Leaving the beaches of The Gambia we made tracks for the Casamance region of Senegal to cross through into Guinea Bissau. We had been warned by a number of people, and the foreign office, that Casamance was not safe for independent travel due to the fighting between separatists wanting independence and rebels and the military.

Apart from a significant increase in the amount of military around we saw no hint of trouble and met for the most part very welcoming people. One checkpoint did take a particular interest in us and searched the entire vehicle, and us, from top to bottom. They refused to believe that we were travelling as tourists and threatened to arrest us unless we paid a fine and after an hour of friendly chat, and a (faked) call to the British Embassy in their presence, we were suddenly allowed to leave.

And so on to Guinea Bissau; and the entirely unknown Portuguese language.

7th April : Paradise Beach, The Gambia – still chilling!

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6th April : Paradise Beach Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

The next day we were told of a fabled beach somewhere down the coast of The Gambia. It involved finding a small village that was not marked on any map; following a sandy trail for a few kilometres to reach a fishing village; Then taking a path through the mangroves that is only accessible once a day during the lowest tide.

This would bring us onto a stretch of pure white sand that led unbroken and unpopulated all the way down the Senegal. The source of this information was Joe, an east-ender (London) we met in Bakau. Joe used to work in Libya and knew his way round Africa so we took him at his word and after several wrong turns and many directions from locals, we finally found our way to this paradise beach. It was everything we had been promised.

The added bonus, being an old run down beach bar that consisted of a small shack and some blown down palm tree shades, run by a local guy named Omar. Omar’s first words to us on arrival were ‘Come in my Dutch friends.’ After clearing up the confusion we settled down to a few cold (not hot) beers and barracuda cooked over a camp fire.

It seemed Omar was trying to keep the bar running now that his brother, the owner, had left for Europe. Things didn’t seem to be going that well given the lack of tourists this time of year. Realising, fairly swiftly it seemed, that we were basically filthy he kindly offered to take us to his home in a nearby village to meet his family and ask his mother to do some much needed washing for us. His home was far from anything we had seen before. He lived in a mud brick ‘line house’ with his father, a retired professional Gambian wrestler, his mother, a stereotypically matriarchal woman, 8 brothers and sisters and an array of uncles, aunts.

We were immediately introduced to everyone as special guests and had tea thrust at us from all sides. Of course this was only after the half hour long preparation that is typical here. His advice on preparation was that it takes as long as you have and it can take hours.

What followed was an incredibly enlightening few hours where we talked of the difficulties of making a living in this beautiful country.

We were immediately introduced to everyone as special guests and had tea thrust at us from all sides

While they were as self sufficient as possible, growing everything from mangoes and oranges, to peppers (blindingly hot) and cashew nuts, they were still reliant on bringing in money like everyone else. The loss of his older brother, and main income provider, to cholera the year before had been a terrible blow and one from which they did not seem to have recovered emotionally or financially. In spite of this the entire family showed a sense of humour and togetherness that was remarkable. Even while they talked of how they struggled to afford basics like candles (they had no electricity), they still laughed hysterically as the mother pulled out yet another filthy shirt with footprints on it from our bag. Omar and his family are typical of a million families in The Gambia and I am sure across this continent. And unlike the hustlers we have met in the tourist hot spots, not once did they even hint at us giving them any money. They are proud of their home, proud of the money they earn and proud of the lives they lead. How much longer this will last I am not sure as it seems the children all have aspirations of leaving their homes and heading for Europe to make money. Extended across the country one can only speculate on the impact this will have on the communities we have seen.

It’s very difficult to explain the thoughts and emotions we experienced during our time with Omar. Even though we empathise with their plight and insist on helping with what money we can, we cannot escape the fact that we were spending comparatively vast sums on our trip around Africa. Sums which whilst hopefully would do some good in raising awareness for our chosen charity be used to such enormous effect by families like Omar’s. Though it may not be a question of right or wrong, I still feel a certain amount of discomfort at the thought.

Omar summed up the differences beautifully for me though. ‘We are all in different situations’ he said. He was lucky to have his health and a supportive family. He uses this opportunity to go to work, to bring in money for his family and to try to prepare for a future he hopes will take him to Europe. By comparison we are lucky to be in the situation whereby we benefit from a certain amount of financial security and are able to travel freely around the world, at times able to help those less fortunate. The only wrong, he says, would be if we failed to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded us.

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4th April : Banjul & Bakau

After spending 2 weeks desperately trying to muddle our way through countries in French it was a glorious relief to get into The Gambia. God bless British colonialism!

Following a pretty standard border crossing we spent the night in what we thought would be the delightful port town and capital city, Banjul. It was not delightful. The next morning we packed up and headed for Bakau. 15km along the coast it was a different world.

Stunning beaches and friendly, chilled out (stoned) locals. Camping on the beach in Bakau on our second night we got talking to the head of security for a local hotel, which is owned by the government. Interestingly enough, this hotel is used as an investment for social security services for the people and all profits go directly back into state welfare.

On explaining our aim for the trip to support One2One kids in the building of more shelters he offered us help in The Gambia as he knew a few people. And so the next morning we found ourselves, suited and booted, or as as far as our travelling clobber would allow, and standing outside the office of the chief medical officer of The Gambia. Unfortunately his schedule did not allow for a full meeting; however he was kind enough to refer us to the head of paediatrics for The Gambia. We met with the doctor working in conditions that while clearly aiming high were falling short. Old wheel chairs and beds littered the open spaces within the hospitals grand grounds. Within all of this we saw a man who was clearly both passionate and saddened by the situation he faced. The Gambia simply does not have the required funds to treat children infected with HIV. The sad truth is that the majority of funding is directed to the treatment of adults whom it seems take priority for reasons not explained. The other major hurdle they face is that some in the country still hold a belief that ‘traditional’ medicines are able to cure HIV. Whilst I have no medical knowledge on which to base my predictably pessimistic conclusions, the look of exasperation on the face of this doctor trying desperately to help the children of his country told me enough to know that no amount of herbs was going to save many young lives. We were left shaken by what we had seen and heard but were uplifted by the thought that following our conversation and continued correspondence, ‘One to One’ might be able to begin supporting another much deserving clinic in its never ending fight against HIV in Africa.

4th April : Palmarin, Senegal Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

Moved along the coast to Palmarin; indulged in some R&R on the beach. Had dinner with a local family;

2nd April : Dakar, Senegal

1st April : Dakar, Senegal Tip: Click pictures to pop-up a larger view!

It’s evening now and we have just got to Dakar – sitting in a hotel using the wi-fi (see above). We will probably stay here most of the night. Dakar is hectic. Driving here is madness. Cars driving in every direction; Thousands of people selling goods; Shouting; Calling to you; Stalls and stands everywhere; it’s just amazing; Exactly what I imagined an African city to be; Really good fun.

Heading to Isle de Goree tomorrow and then down to stay on the beaches.

The car is coming along nicely. Amazing how quickly we are picking things up. We also spent yesterday trying to hammer out the rim that we bent the night before crashing into the ditch. Eventually we just used the high lift jack like a vice and bent it back.

A few more hammer blows and we were there. I’m not certain the alternator is quite right yet so still needs work, but I reckon we could get ourselves out of most mechanical situations now.

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