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Trials and Tribulations: A Memoir of…
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Trials and Tribulations: A Memoir of Volunteering in the Gambia

by Cassie Bryant

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I hadn’t expected to enjoy Trials and Tribulations: A Memoir of Volunteering in the Gambia by Cassie Bryant as much as I did. In her own words she was a bit of a failure in that she didn’t immerse herself totally in the culture or environment of the country but she did have a fairly good time, and that good time was passed on to the reader as if she were writing a letter to a friend. She volunteered in the early 1980’s, just before the Aid epidemic. She was sent to this small western Africa country and was assigned as a teacher at the Presentation Girls’ Vocational School in the capitol city of Banjul.

At first she suffered from homesickness and culture shock, but she was made welcome by her students and after meeting and making friends with many other volunteers from Britain, Canada and the United States, a busy social life was guaranteed. She was a very successful teacher and after some setbacks was able to see her entire class passed on through both the beginner and intermediate grades. A few of her students were hired by the American embassy as secretaries.

She became romantically involved with a couple of Gambian men, but the culture was so very different plus she always felt they were more interested in her as a way to get to Britain and a new life. Her two serious relationships were with Americans, and she did eventually marry and have a child with one of them. Although she was English, she ended up in New York and lives there today as a ESL teacher.

With it’s light, friendly writing style and interesting subject matter, I found this a engaging, quick read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 17, 2016 |
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