The African Oyster Trust – An update (Part Three)

The African Oyster Trust and Leader – an update (part 3)

Now back in the UK, James reflects on his time in The Gambia in his third and final blog. What are his hopes for the charity he set up nearly 17 years ago and, as the pandemic threatens to deliver another blow to the tourism industry there, what does the future look like?

The bee and the straw

I’ve been back in the UK for a week now and was pleased to come out of self-isolation when my PCR test came back negative. I emerged into a world very different from The Gambia in so many ways. I have also learned that the results of the Gambian election mean an extension of power for the incumbent President Adama Barrow. His electioneering slogan was ‘Peace and Development’ – an outcome devoutly to be wished for.

But is it just that a wish? Peace I think is a likely outcome and of course without this development is impossible. However, positive development is another matter altogether, particularly as much of the developed world moves back into Covid restricted status. The prognosis for Gambia’s tourist industry for next year is once again poor and that augers badly for so many in what is already a desperately poor country.

As I waited in the departures lounge a bee fell into the dregs of a bottle of Fanta I was drinking through a straw. It struggled madly to escape and much to my surprise it managed to begin climbing up on my straw – a veritable ladder to freedom. However, the effort proved too much and it fell back down into the sweet orange liquid. I thought it was doomed, but once again it struggled for dear life and I decided to help. I placed the straw near its whirling legs and once it had gripped it I lifted the straw gently up and through the bottle’s neck. After a brief period of recovery and drying itself in the afternoon sunshine my bee disappeared into the vast blue African sky.

One can take analogies too far, but as I look back this is what the African Oyster Trust is. It offers a ladder for freedom for those Gambians whose life it touches. I am grateful for the chance to be involved in that task.

If you would like to find out more about the AOT, please visit here:

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