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A Librarian in The Gambia

November 28th, 2017 · No Comments · News

Sunday 26/11/2017

Team 2 has arrived safely in the Gambia after a long flight into Banjul Airport. We set off in the small hours of Friday morning with extremely heavy suitcases. Stella Elliott our Vision2020 Coordinator had a vitrector, which had been brought back to the UK and repaired by our technician Paul. Gwyn Williams (Medical Retina Consultant) and myself had suitcases filled with ophthalmology textbooks.

We visited SZRECC on Saturday morning to meet the team and plan for the week ahead. As it is the first time that either Gwyn or myself have visited the Gambia it was a good opportunity to meet many of the people that we had heard so much about in Swansea. It was particularly nice to witness the warm welcome that Stella received now on her 10th visit and the high regard and affection with which she is held here is great to see.

On a personal note I’m extremely excited about the week ahead. As a Librarian I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would get an opportunity to travel to Africa. In the months leading up to this trip I have spent some time looking at information resources that are available to developing countries. The Hinari Database produced by the World Health Organisation contains over 15,000 electronic journals and more than 50,000 e-books is available in the Gambia for free. I am eager to establish access for SZRECC and to promote it as a resource whilst I am here.

We had the Sunday off and decided to take a boat trip up The River Gambia to Kunta Kinteh Island, which had been used as a prison for slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries before transporting them across the Atlantic. Having had the weekend to settle in, we’re now looking forward to starting work Monday morning.