In conjunction with the Drexel University WeServe program and the Drexel University School of Public Health, we will be traveling to Gambia (West Africa) this summer to do work on a number of public health projects related to maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS prevention & education, and chronic disease management.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Thursday was the first day we split up. Tomi and Idris went to the kombos (downtown Banjul) with the hospital team. They initially thought it was going to be a straight trip there and back, but were quickly introduced to the common practice of providing rides into town for the locals. Tomi was asked to help one of the passengers by holding their baby the entire way. This all-day event included picking up medicine for the hospital, purchasing food for the canteen, and a manhunt for fans for our home. After a long hunt and a lot of haggling, they got the fans! After returning, they were welcomed by no electricity, so we played the card game "UNO" with  neighbors by lantern light for a few hours until the light came back on and we could finally use the new fans!

Tosin spent the afternoon at the dental clinic with Dr. Camara. It was very busy and fast paced. The dental clinic has one machine that is used just like the machine in the States. Unfortunately, it was broken due to the light problems so she was forced to use tools manually. It was really amazing for Tosin to see how the machine being broken did not stop or dishearten the doctor. She got to assist with the pulling of the left lower quadrant premolar. The patients tooth was rotting and was becoming infected. She showed Tosin how to locally anesthetize patients' gums to pull teeth without pain. Tosin also helped with just regular teeth cleaning. When Tosin asked Dr. Camara what would make her job easier, she responded by saying she is running low on basic supplies like toothbrushes,toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. This is an easy enough wish to grant. Hopefully Love Abroad supporters can do something to help! 

Lauren went with the team of public health officers to issue birth certificates to parents in nearby villages. While in the villages, Lauren assisted the UNICEF officers as they determined the eligibility of those wanting to receive these certificates. In the Gambia, obtaining a birth certificate for children is important to receiving general services from the government.  This was a day long process because there were several villages in each district to be visited and each village had at least 10 children to be registered.  The people were very welcoming and thankful; they provided lunch for the team and snacks of groundnuts (peanuts) and mangos.  This is an important and ongoing project that will benefit lives of Gambian children and their families.

Greg and Tosin visited the HIV clinic With the supervisor Agie Bintou. They spoke with her about what it's like running an HIV campaign in Gambia. Greg asked her a number of questions about what would help her job easier. She responded by saying that a major issue for her is that information is always changing and being updated and because of this its hard for her to stay current with the information. She said she wishes there was a system that she could go on that would continuously update about any HIV information so she can stay current. They also talked about HIV stigmas in Gambia and how that affects treatment. Agie had a lot of great ideas about HIV interventions and campaigns. Her only deterrent was her resources. We are hoping to help her out any way we can!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Week 1 has come to an end and we all now have Gambian names! The hospital dentist, Dr. Camara, named Greg (Mustapha) and Tosin (Khaddy). Our neighbor and friend, Kutubo named Tomi (Fatima) and Lauren (Mariama). Idris was named (Alieu) by one of the UNICEF Public Health officers during some rounds.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Live from Gambia

We arrived into The Gambia Monday night and were abruptly introduced into the fast-pace hustle and bustle flow of a Gambian airport. We were soon surrounded by a number of taxi drivers and vendors trying to help us find our destination. After about 20 minutes of unease and slight worry, we finally found Mr. Kebba Badgie, CEO of the Sulayman Junkung General Hospital (SJGH). He introduced us to one of the hospital drivers, Mr. Ibrahim Tall who drove us to the Leybato Hotel where we spent the night. In the morning Mr. Tall took us to the market in Banjul. There we stocked up on water, food, phones, and other house needs.

Our first day we were caught off guard as we entered our three bedroom flat on the SJGH grounds. As we began to acclimate to our very modest living environment, we encountered a number of unforeseen impediments that catalyzed our bonding process. It began with the heat. Not your regular run of the mill, sunbathe on the beach, water ice from Rita’s heat, but the unforgiving, hot yoga type of heat that keeps you sweating like 711 (24/7). That was just the tip of the iceberg. No power, infestation of creatures, and most importantly NO RUNNING WATER soon followed.

Feeling exhausted and fed up from the night before, Mr. Badgie turned our spirits around and reminded us why we were here. His wise words accompanied by a kick of an ice cold soda provided the encouragement, excitement, and inspiration that will propel us forward on this 6-week journey.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Philly ->Newark ->Brussels->Gambia


We made it to Banjul, Gambia safely! Follow our twitter as we give updates on our journey (@loveabroad5). We'll continue to update as internet allows!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


We want to thank all of you who have been visiting this blog, expressing words of encouragement, and donating! Because of you, we have raised the funds needed to spread LOVE in The Gambia. Please continue to follow us on this blog, our twitter (@loveabroad5), and our Instagram (@loveabroad5). Again, THANK YOU!