All posts by Marnix

CTO of smilegambia

Smilegambia.org is a private owned NGO – Summary

Smilegambia originates from a tourist holiday trip of a Belgian family, that was confronted with the limited resources of the Gambian people they visited during their trip.  At the end they asked the guide to bring them to a secluded village so they would be able to start up a limited aid.  That village was Buntung, 300 inhabitants, mostly kids, located 5 km south-east of Njau, in the Upper River region in central Gambia, on the north bank of the river.

When visiting for the first time they were confronted with a collapsing water well.  The family decided  to sponsor some money to fix this well, as it was the source of life for the village.  The next year they went back to inspect the works, and they installed a 100W loar panel system to charge the cellphones of the village.  Surrounding villages also came to charge their phones, thus creating a micro economy.

Cellphones are important as they provide the one and only link between families, when daughters are send away to marry in other villages.  They are very cheap and wanted.  But there is no electricity.

The next year a flatscreen TV with parabolic dish was bought and installed, to improve language skills and give the villagers a window view to the world, so they could see that if they study they can become something apart from farner, as currently the only income is from ground nuts and pearl millet, exchanged with other vilages for other items.

Another visit the family brought a European Medical doctor, that provided free healthcare.  Most villagers never visited a doctor in their entire life.

As a thank you the Chief of the village offered a piece of land, to built houses where philantropists could reside during their visits.  These 4 houses were built by the locals providing some extra income.  One building was used as a nursery school, and a local teacher was sponsored to teach basic English to the toddlers.

An amateur radio station was installed as well as some extra solar panels, and the money generated by this project promotion over radio was used to buy 10 solar powered radios.

Currently we are building a local community radio FM station, also solar powered to be installed on one of the cellphone towers providing music to these people too far away from coverage of public radio, only serving coastal touristic areas.

We hope to receive more gifts, both goods and valuables to continue this project.

The Njau health centre

During our stay in Buntu, we also made some visits to the local village of Njau. During one of these visits, we had the change to visit the health centre. While we were there, one of the people had a disease however, the health centre had ran out completely on their antibiotics. Luckily we had some with us and we gave it later to the ill one and at the end of out stay we donated the rest we had to the centre.

In the centre their was also a limited supply of materials to properly examine the patient and that is why we ask to hospitals or doctors who have eg. blood pressure meters,… that they do not use anymore to donate them to us so we can help the health centre there.

(to watch the images in the right orientation just click them.)

P1050129P1050133 - kopie P1050143 P1050148 P1050141

Purchase of goats for the village

Each year we go to the village, we hold a party there.                        However instead of buying a large quantity of meat, we decided it would be better to buy 2 small goats, wich we could slaughter then for more meat. On our second day we went to Wassu market for the purchase of the two goats. Here it was very visible that the Gambia is suffering from the ebola crisis, since Pedro was the only white person in the entire city of Wassu. This is why we should watch out with these press releases wich can damage a country economically for a long while. One last time, there is NO ebola in the gambiaP1070324

Providing TV access

During our stay in the village of buntung, we provided them with access to over 25 different TV channels, aiming at giving them a new and fun way to learn english and french.                                                               Of course, Africa being africa, there is always something broken, however, this time it was the national TV leaving them with other channels like BBC and Al Jazeera, but we are hoping the GRTS will have their things sorted out on their TV side.P1040488 P1040857

C5WP 2015 Operations

As our SmileGambia Drupal based website was hacked several times we decided to migrate to WordPress, however in the migration process all content was lost.  So this is a temporary website.

QSL-C5WP

Smilegambia.org is a very small privately owned NGO initiative to improve the life of the about 300 inhabitants, mainly children, of a small village Buntu(ng) located 200 km from the atlantic coast in The Gambia.  Over the last 4 years we installed Solar panels, a water well, LED lights, a generator, a small nursery school and paid a local teacher to learn basic English to the kids that only speak local Pular language. This visit we will install a satellite dish with a  flat screen TV to improve the English in a fun way watching TV.  We are also bringing in 6 bags of 23 kg with clothes and school supplies, and additionally materials bought locally using money from our sponsors.

We have an amateur radio station installed in 1 of the 4 small cabins we constructed 2 years ago to accepts guests.  We ask 3 euros for a QSL card and all this money is used to buy food and goods for the village.

In case you always wanted to do a DX-pedition to a remote area…  The station and the cabins can be used by visitors free of charge, we only ask to bring helping goods to compensate for the cost of your stay.  The amateur radio station is available with a 5 band Spider Beam and a Kenwood TRC-80 all running on solar power.   We can assist obtaining a temporary callsign and license.  More info can be found on the “Kerr Pedro” .pdf folder here on this temporary website.

 

Please support us by asking your QSL.  Press the paypal button below and sponsor 3 Euros (or more if you want to really help…) and add your details (callsign, date and time of QSO, band and report) and we will send you a full colour QSL via airmail when we are back home in Belgium

 

Current operations by Pedro ON7WP/C5WP use an additional Kenwood TS480 running entirely on solar power, with a 20 Ah battery (sponsored by VABO Belgium) and a 40 Watts Chinese solar panel.  This provides about 3 hours of continuus 100W operations after dark.  I also brought a 40 meter delta loop to try to get out of this poor soil (savannah) using a palm tree as support.

There are only 2 permanently licenced HAM’s in the Gambia.  C5YK Andre is currently in Belgium so Pedro C5WP is the only HAM left in Gambia at the moment !

Major website changes

Welcome,

based on the fact that you are reading this, we have a message, at the moment, our website is being entirely remade in wordpress instead of Drupal. Due to this, certain pages are still needed to be added.

Sorry for the inconvenience.