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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


The L.O.V.E Abroad team experienced their first Gambian market. It was a hot and humid Saturday afternoon and the L.O.V.E team was very excited to start haggling and purchasing souvenirs for their loved ones and supporters. Upon entering, they were engulfed by the immediate atmosphere of the market. It didn't take much to notice that the 5 of them were foreigners and the vendors were very very happy to see new customers in their "off" season. Idris wasted no time finding a shop of African clothes owned by a vivacious Gambian woman. Idris and Tomi immediately began showcasing their haggling skills in order to buy a few of her products for reasonable prices.

Meanwhile, Tosin ran into another merchant who went by the name "Mama Africa". She was lively and very eager to see someone interested in her jewelry. Shortly after meeting Mama Africa, she referred to Tosin as her daughter and made it her duty to make sure Tosin met all of her friends and visited their shops as well. Something that stood out to Tosin was that Mama Africa kept saying "we are all family, we help each other out.” Although all of the vendors were ultimately competing for customers, there was still a sense of community. 

After cautiously assessing the market (like a true statistician), Greg entered a vendors shop in order to buy a few trinkets. He displayed a very calm and cool demeanor while talking down the price of his souvenirs. Greg was able talk down the vendor of what he wanted to very reasonable prices, and he was very pleased with his performance.

Mama Africa saw Tomi and realized that Tosin was her sister and immediately made them meet her sister Nay. She quickly took it upon herself to guide them through the market and “take care of her daughters”. Mama Africa noticed Tomi and Greg talking to one another and inquired to Tomi if Greg was her husband! Tomi replied, “No” and laughed it off with a good sense of humor.

Meanwhile, the sea of vendors had submerged Lauren from the moment the L.O.V.E team walked in, and she had moved to the opposite side of the market. Lauren was pulled into many different shops by the ecstatic vendors and she ended up buying a few goodies from her new friends.

 After the L.O.V.E team was finished shopping (to the dismay of the vendors) they felt a sense of friendship with the different vendors they had encountered. They reassured them that they would undoubtedly be back to buy more souvenirs. This was definitely an experience of a lifetime!! MARKET MANIA!!

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