Today marked the end of our college trip to The Gambia, and the beginning of my internship with Starfish International. The last three weeks have flown by, and I have seen and experienced more than I could have imagined. I grew closer to my classmates, I made new friendships amoung the Gambians, and I was exposed to new situations that have taught me many things about the world.
One of the main differences between Gambian and American culture is how open the people. In America, people walk down the street and mind their own business. Here in The Gambia I feel like I can’t walk 15 feet without someone saying hello and asking me how I was doing. It’s a refreshing change that everyone is so open to talking and really getting to know you. Another difference is how crazy people are driving here. People swerve in and out, pass each other on normal roads, and honk at everything from a chicken crossing the road to a person walking too close on the side. It makes New York City look calm. I haven’t been hit by a car while walking.. yet.
As much as my class trip was fun, I felt like I was experiencing Africa from the safety of our little Juniata class. It was comforting to see familiar faces wherever I was, but to truly experience how life is in The Gambia I need to be here alone. And so here I am, the last of our class still here. After a tearful goodbye to my classmates at 3 am as they drove off to the airport, I was dropped off at my internship. Completely alone. The next 4 weeks will be quite the adventure, and I can’t wait to see what is ahead of me.