A warm welcome in Gambia
Gambian Sainey Camara received a hero’s welcome when he returned to his home country with a charity boss from his adopted town of Devizes.
Mr Camara, known as Charlie at The Bear Hotel, Devizes, where he works, joined forces with Bag4Sport Foundation run by Andy Trusler to help build a well in the village where he grew up.
Mr Trusler said: “I went out to Gambia with Charlie to take sports kit and school equipment but having been there I am determined to do something more sustainable. They need a well and a perimeter wall at the school to keep animals out so they can grow vegetables.
“I hope we will be able to get sponsorship from firms, schools and individuals here to make this happen.
“I was completely overwhelmed by my experience out there. You see these things on the television but to go there and experience it yourself is completely different. The families are very poor but they all really care about each other.”
He said families have to walk miles every day to get fresh water and lives would be transformed by a well.
Mr Trusler said: “It would cost about £3,500 to put fresh water into the village.”
Bag4Sport took out T-shirts in its distinctive orange colour and others with a lion on the front created by artist Joanna May, who lives at Keevil and is a patron of Bag4Sport.
Mr Camara, who has lived in Devizes for about ten years, said: “The people in the region where I grew up are still incredibly poor.
“I like to do all I can to help.”
He and Mr Trusler and Devizes businessman Casey Collins, who joined them on the trip, were made to feel at home wherever they went.
Mr Trusler said: “I did this trip at my own expense as I really believed in what Charlie has been doing in Gambia and now I went to take it forward.
“We will be trying to find sponsors and maybe holding specific fundraising events.”