Banjul, The Gambia Report of what it's like to live there - 09/23/16

Personal Experiences from Banjul, The Gambia

Banjul, The Gambia 09/23/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Panama City,Panama; Kathmandu, Nepal; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Dili, East Timor

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Alabama, USA- 24 hours with 5 hour connection lay over in Brussels

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

2 years

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic Embassy

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Large houses, commute 5-25 minutes maximum

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

90% of groceries are available, but cost varies and quality varies.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Asian food items

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Mediterranean foods, and pizzas.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Local postal facilities not good especially with packages. We receive through diplomatic pouch.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Help is readily available, but quality varies. Most household help is around US$100- $125 per month.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Limited, but available. Most do not have air conditioning. Cost is around US$30 a month.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

No, credit cards are NOT accepted widely. This is a cash economy. ATMs are available.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

English is the official language and used in the Christian churches. Arabic is spoken in the Muslim Mosques.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can get by with English although it is useful to know some of the local tribal dialects.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Limited wheelchair accessibility, but can move around in crutches. No elevators in the country.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Safe, but not necessarily in good working order. Affordable.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

4 X 4 is recommended as most roads not paved off of the main highway.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, Installation in 2-3 days. Quality varies on where you live and how the wind blows.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Local provider. Africell, Q cell, Comium

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No quarantine needed. Vets are available.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Telecommuting. Pay scales low in comparison to US pay.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Lots of volunteer opportunities available.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Very casual. Recommend no shorts for women as this is still a Muslim country.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

No- Other than the pick pockets and typically petty street crime. Houses do need to have a guard because there are break-ins when houses are left empty.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is sub normal, but there are some doctors trained abroad that are technically proficient. Resources are limited. Any serious medical condition will certainly almost require medical evacuation.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good, but dusty during the dry season.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Very infrequently.

View All Answers


5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

The only mental health issues are the ones related to the work environment at the US Embassy. Current embassy morale is poor due to leadership.

View All Answers


6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot all year with a windy and chilly dry season between January and April. Very humid during rainy season from June-October.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Several international schools available, but as a diplomat, Banjul American Embassy School is the only one that is accredited and meets US Standards. It is a small school, but has a strong supportive community.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Very limited accommodations available in country.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes, International quality pre-schools and Montessori schools are available. Cost range between US$3500-5,500 per year.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Limited to swimming, football and tennis. Not at the highest level of teaching though.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

At least 200+ expat community plus a very large Lebanese community. Morale is good except among U.S.Embassy diplomats where the current leadership has fostered negativity and hostility.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Fajara Club, Elite Fitness

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

For families of young children because school is not up to US Standards for High School

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Absolutely not LGBT friendly.

View All Answers


5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The local people are the friendliest people you will ever meet.

View All Answers


6. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

People are kind, kids are happy and everyone is relaxed except US Embassy employees.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

That would attract the lowest bidder in regards to diplomatic missions.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, only because the city is great for a family and living, but terrible for working.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter coats and boots

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen and mosquito repellant

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Roots by Alex Haley

View All Answers


Subscribe to our newsletter


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More