1. Florio and Jones meet the Vice President of The Gambia at their UN Mission Headquarters in New York (March 11th 2010)

    Image: Her Excellency Mrs Isatou Njie-Saidy (centre in green)

    What an honour it was to meet Her Excellency Mrs Isatou Njie-Saidy, the Vice President of The Gambia, today at their office in the UN Mission on 2nd Ave, New York; along with her delegation of aides and colleagues, beautifully and immaculately attired in traditional dress. As always, we felt under-dressed and positively drab compared to these vibrantly garbed women!

    When the audience was granted we never expected to have a whole delegation greeting us – let alone a Gambia Radio & TV crew! However, we dusted-off our already fast-fading Mandinka and it was like walking into a wonderfully surreal slice of The Gambia in New York for an hour.

    Also present was the Hon. Elizabeth Renner (Speaker of The National Assembly, The Gambia) and Susan Waffa-Ogoo (Gambia’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York) – the two women immediately to my left. The other women were all part of the trade industry – predominantly fashion and textiles – in The Gambia.

    All in all, a bunch of very strong and powerful women in their respective fields and a pleasure to meet. Florio even joked about meeting Jammeh (the President of The Gambia) and taking his portrait and, who knows, now we have met the VP, it opens up another door to the inner sanctum………Mrs Njie-Saidy also very modestly agreed to let Florio take her portrait for the next edition of the ‘Makasutu – mecca in the forest’ when we visit The Gambia next.

    Almost all of the meeting was filmed by Gambia TV (including Florio presenting Her Excellency with a copy of his book http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/766143) and then we were interviewed by Ebrima Baldeh for his ‘Weekends Spectrum’ show on GRTS. We are becoming quite a fixture on Gambian TV – what with Ibrahim Jatta’s ‘Expedition Gambia’ show and the ‘Fatou Show’ when we were in The Gambia.

    Apparently, Ebrima has his own blog too www.ebrimagambia.blogspot.com We’ll be checking that out for sure.

    We both came away with a sense that it had been a successful and highly enjoyable meeting to help raise more awareness for Gardens for Life in The Gambia and the Balabu Conservation Area project/Makasutu Wildlife Trust.

    Florio, Ebrima (GRTS TV) & Jones (with Ibrahim Jatta's cameraman uncle in the background!) - The Gambia's UN MIssion Headquarter, NYC

    Florio, Ebrima (GRTS TV) & Jones (with Ibrahim Jatta’s cameraman uncle in the background!) - The Gambia’s UN MIssion Headquarter, NYC

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