Healthcare, education, clean water – we take them for granted each and every day. For some people in the developing world, this is the harsh reality that they face day in, day out.
Malaria constitutes the main public health problem in The Gambia, accounting for approximately 25 per cent of deaths in children under five. Malaria is caused by infected mosquito bites and mosquitoes thrive and breed where there is stagnant water to lay eggs, grow and develop. The lack of clean water exacerbates the risks of malaria in this area of the world, and malaria is treatable and preventable with the right healthcare.
The Clement James Centre set out to help tackle these issues by way of a week-long volunteer trip to The Gambia. We packed our passports, our sunglasses, and crucially, our Incognito insect repellent products.
We were fortunate enough to visit The Gambia and it has proven to be a trip that will live long in our memories. The country is beautiful, its inhabitants are kind, warm people, and it has the potential to redefine itself into something wonderful. I travelled with 11 others to visit the BACE (Building and Assisting Communities with Education) project that operates in the rural village of Bonsa; a place that, without the wonderful work of BACE, would struggle to cope. Over the last ten years, BACE trustees, staff members, and volunteers have worked tirelessly to advocate for the villagers of Bonsa and provide them with much needed education, healthcare, and now, fresh, clean water, thanks to a newly developed water tower on site. The impact of the charity is immense.
Last year, BACE raised enough money to build a health clinic within walking distance of Bonsa. It acts as the primary source of healthcare for over 20,000 people and specialises in midwifery; ensuring that mothers are cared for both during and after pregnancy. The clinic is spotless, and it has so much potential to develop into a fully functioning medical centre. By speaking to the villagers it is clear that the clinic has impacted upon their lives in ways more positive than we can imagine.
Our presence in a malaria-riddled country meant that we had to take strong precautions lest we succumbed to the disease. Upon hearing about our trip, Howard Carter, founder of incognito®, kindly donated insect repellent spray, hair and body wash, incense sticks, loofahs, and deodorants to our group, and as a result no one suffered from mosquito bites at all. The products are remarkable. We applied the repellent liberally (at least twice a day) and it did exactly what it needed to. Our skin didn’t feel dry; it absorbed the spray naturally, and protected us for hours.
The incognito® range came highly recommended and its protection was extremely important for the success of our trip. Mosquito bites can be fatal, yet we were safe in the knowledge that we were protected at all times. It allowed for a fantastic trip to a fantastic project. We’ll certainly be calling on incognito®’s services again next year!
By Sophie Greaves, St Clement James.