Update 23/1 (12.01.23) First Seed Is Sown
An article in the local press reports about us all–in Gambia and in Germany.
Our friend and journalist Ralf Badenschier wrote in the local newspaper Bützower Anzeiger (www.svz.de) on January the 2nd:
»First seed is sown in Labakoreh
After flood disaster, people rebuild their village / Support from the association „Bützower for Gambia“
Good news from Africa reached Monika Thomsen, chairwoman of the association Bützower für Gambia, shortly before the turn of the year. The women in the African patron village were able to put the first seeds in the ground. Thus, another project of the association is on the right track. „In particular, this is thanks to Siegrid and Peter Naujok from Güstrow,“ says the chairwoman.
„The construction of the garden was a project of the heart of Siegrid Naujok, who has unfortunately passed away in the meantime,“ Monika Thomsen tells us. The couple, who have no children themselves, gave a large donation to the project. This has been on the association’s to-do list for a long time.
Among other things, it has built a school in the village, where 130 girls and boys are now taught and receive a hot meal every day. Ingredients for this are now to grow in their own vegetable garden. Anything else that grows in the garden will be sold by the women. In this way, they will earn their own income.
When Monika Thomsen and other members of the association traveled to Gambia in the spring of 2022, they were not able to achieve everything they had planned during their four-week stay. Because the piece of land that was chosen could not be used for the project. Therefore, the local mayor organized another area. This way, at least the two wells needed for the garden could be drilled in spring.
After the Germans left in the spring, a major flood disaster occurred in the Labakoreh region. The land was flooded, houses damaged. „The horticulture project had to be stopped,“ says Monika Thomsen.
Also with the help of donations amounting to around 5,000 euros, which the association collected, the residents in the pat village were at least able to repair the damage to the houses. „Each affected family received the equivalent of up to 400 euros,“ says the head of the association. The average income of a resident is about 40 to 60 euros a month. Some of them are now beginning to gradually replace the mud walls with stone walls, says Monika Thomsen.
The Güstrow resident herself traveled to Gambia again in October to continue the garden project with the locals. „Immediately after arriving, we set out to buy the material. Iron, wood, roof battens. Everything that was needed.“ The masonry work was done by one of the men, who earned money doing it. A second group of men built the fence around the approximately 3,000-square-meter area.
A toilet building with a septic tank had already been completed before they arrived. „But the plaster and the doors were still missing,“ says Monika Thomsen. That has now been done and another building has been built. This stands right at the entrance to the large vegetable garden. It serves as a materials store. There is also a roofed porch. There, the women want to sell the harvested fruit and vegetables.
So now the first seeds have been put in the ground. Monika Thomsen has since learned that the women in Labakoreh will receive further help. „There are similar garden projects in surrounding villages. They will now join forces. If it works, the state will give aid in the form of fertilizers and seeds,“ Monika Thomsen has learned from the mayor of Labakoreh. But this requires initial results. And these will hopefully be seen in a few weeks when the first seeds are planted.«
Thank you, Ralf and the SVZ, for that report.