The visit to Gambia and Senegal, West Africa, in late 2015, was one of the best experiences of my life and was truly memorable. I met the most wonderful people who were incredibly welcoming, hospitable and inspirational. I saw things I had never seen before and had experiences which were possibly life changing. Chatting with a Gambian woman who works six days a week, 9 hours a day and only early £6 a week was for me, moving and shocking.
I did some observational drawing whilst spending time with a British charity based in The Gambia called 'Riders for Health'. In the heat of the day, I drew mechanics that were repairing motorbikes, cares and ambulances so that they were fully serviced and operational so that medical staff, supplies and samples can be delivered and collected from some of the most remote parts of the county. Most of the people I met seemed to be working almost 7 days a week.
I also visited primary schools in the village of Brufut where over 1,000 children have no access to computers, the library roof is leaking and they partly rely on donations for really basic supplies, including exercise books. In spite of their rather spartan facilities, the teachers are incredibly dedicated and the kids had an infectious, wonderful spirit.
Wandering the streets and travelling by 4x4 car along unfinished and dusty roads, Gambia and Senegal presented some beautiful and chaotic scenes which I just had to draw and paint!