What part of The Gambia are you from and do you still live there now?
Buba J: I come from a village call Bulock, it lies in the Foni Brefer, western region about 60 kilometres from Banjul. I don’t live there any more due to my work but I still have a house there and my elder sister lives there.
Jatta: I come from Gunjur Town but now I live in a village called Kerr Sering, just a 10 minute walk from our office at the Senegambia Hotel.
LT: I come from Lamin Town which is within the Greater Banjul Area; I still live there with my family.
Karamo: I am from Sintet about 135 kilometres from Banjul. Now I live in Lamin Town.
How long have you worked for The Gambia Experience?
Buba J: I joined The Gambia Experience in January 2001, about 11 years ago.
Jatta: I have worked for The Gambia Experience for about 15 years.
LT: 10 years.
Karamo: 11 years.
What changes have you seen in The Gambia in the last 25 years?
Buba J: There is a rapid development of education meaning more schools from nursery to university have been created. When I was young, to go to high school we had to leave our home villages to move to the towns, but that is no longer the case, there are schools all over The Gambia. More girls are going to school today than ever before and primary education is virtually free. There is also a university that is doing well in medicine, law, public health and other disciplines.
Jatta: The infrastructure of the country has improved – more roads have been built, more schools, health clinics, traffic lights have been introduced, the new airport was built and there are more supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.
LT: There is more access to information through local and foreign newspapers, television, radio stations as well as the introduction of internet and mobile phones.
What has remained the same during this time?
Buba J: The family social structure has not changed. We still maintain our extended family system which allows us to help one another. The level of poverty has not changed; people in the rural areas lack some basic things which we take for granted in the city.
LT: Despite infrastructure development a lot of things remain the same such as the religious tolerance and peace of the country.
Karamo: There are many things that have remained the same including people of different faiths inter-marrying and polygamous families, although the number has dropped.
What is it that you love about The Gambia?
Buba J: I love the simplicity and kindness of the Gambian people. If you live locally you will realise people share whatever they have with others.
Jatta: The weather, the peace and tranquillity of the country and the beautiful River Gambia.
LT: What I love about The Gambia is the food and the friendliness of people regardless of your tribal, ethnic or religious background.
Karamo: I love the extended family units, where everyone looks after and cares for one another.
What would you like to change about the country?
Buba J: I would like education to be free and compulsory for all and for each Gambian to have free medical attention. I would like tourism to develop beyond what it is now.
Jatta: We need to stop bumsters to attract more tourists throughout the year, although improvements have been made.
LT: I would like to change energy generation to be more sustainable and affordable as I believe it is essential to long-term growth of any developing country.
Karamo: I would like to change the high cost of living with more factories for production rather than relying on imported goods. At the end of the season there are a lot of fruits wasted so processing and preservation plants should be introduced to make sure they aren’t wasted and are available all year round. A fish canning factory would also be very important in making The Gambia self-sufficient.