Updates from The Gambia!

Week two and three of The Gambia have been exciting and overwhelming (in the best way possible of course). On week two we began our internships, each student in this study abroad program has an internship tailored to their major and interest. I am a biomedical science major and am interning with The Network of Girls Against Human Trafficking (NOGAHT). You may think, why would a biomed major participate in a human rights internship? For me I wanted to be engaged in human rights in a developing country, this experience so far has been so insightful, and I am actively learning new things every day. This internship also applies to my capstone project which is very exciting. My project for my internship is to prepare grant proposals to prepare for Rotary which is coming in March after I leave The Gambia. Rotary plans on donating an abundant amount of funds to the network, therefore I want to make sure I have every detail possible, so the girls get as much funding as possible for psychosocial therapy, business funding, education sponsorship, and job training. It is a lot on my shoulders, but I am excited to take on the challenge. They have been so great to me, in fact providing me with my own office space and keys to open up the office! This experience made me realize how much they trust me and have faith I will do the girls justice when writing the grant proposals.

Alexis with two friends posing for a photo at the Senegambia craft market
Makayla, Sky, and I at the Senegambia craft market!

Over the weekend we went to the monkey park, which I was nervous and excited for. I had no idea if they would be aggressive, hyper, or shy but I knew I had to try feeding them. At the park they had peanuts you would purchase to feed the animals, yes there is more than just monkeys. So many goats, monkeys, and cattle just roaming around. I reached out to feed the monkey and it gently grabbed the peanut from my hand and ate it. They were so docile, although I have to admit seeing their sharp teeth as they chewed was a bit daunting. The park consists of trails that are full of gorgeous tropical greenery and of course a ton of monkeys.

Two monkeys we fed, they were sitting on a termite nest
Two monkeys we fed, they were sitting on a termite nest

After the monkey park we visited the Senegambia craft market which is the smallest of the markets we have visited but I liked this market the most. This market had more unique creations from the locals aside from the same bracelets and baskets you see at the other markets. I made friends with a vender named Ali, she was so kind and passionate about the items she sold. I ended up buying some anklets from her since that is what my friends from home requested as a souvenir! Her kindness was unique because she wasn’t attempting to sell me something and that was it, she genuinely wanted to engage with me. Her and I exchanged numbers and still keep in contact, she’s keeping an eye out for leopard print fabric to make me a bathing suit cover for me, fun fact about me: I LOVE leopard print, it’s my favorite and I knew I would see a lot of it while in Africa. These last few weeks have been exhausting but so enjoyable, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Alexis posing with a small monkey, they are shaking hands
The monkey and I, shaking my hand!

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