Me sitting on the top of the Dogon escarpment in Mali

2004 - A Year in Review

2004 Country of Living: England

I have completed my service with VSO in The Gambia and have returned to the UK once again after a lot of tearful goodbyes. I did actually extend beyond my original extension period which would have had me leaving in July. I left The Gambia on December 7th after approximately 34 months of service (see my article published in the December VSO newsletter here).


  • March - United Kingdom - When my mother visited in March she was able to come with me on trek around The Gambia to visit local health facilities which she really enjoyed. We also visited Dakar, Senegal in Senegal before returning to The Gambia after which we headed to the UK for a few weeks when we visited Cornwall to see the Eden Project (very good), Devon to see Clovelly (a small village accessible by narrow footpath at the base of a cliff on the ocean) and then a return to Portmerion in Wales.
  • August - Mali - Before I left The Gambia I had to do at least a little bit of travel so in August I set off with three other volunteers as we explored Mali which is just to the west of The Gambia (and Senegal) and is home to the fabled Timbucto (yes, that Timbucto). It was an…interesting…trip but worthwhile. See my Mali Journal.

Passport Joy

I had a bit of passport problems since I needed to renew my passport to be able to return to the UK (my current passport was set to expire in January 2005 but you are not supposed to travel anywhere with a passport that is to expire within a few months). It turns out that passports do not seem to be meant to be issued to people when they are not in the country…(see my article published in the December VSO newsletter here)

Christmas/New Years

After my last day of work on the 7th I am spending some time in the UK after which I will be returning to Canada for about a month to visit family and friends as well as getting in some skiing in Banff for a week with my mother. It is a long holiday – more than 5 weeks – but it should give me a chance to collect myself for what is to come (namely, searching for a job).

Reviews of the Year



Next Year

I am hoping to get a job and actually save some money after spending a large amount of my savings while living in The Gambia (daily expenses were covered by our allowance but my various trips, such as to Mali and the UK, were NOT covered). I figured it was easiest to stay in the UK for the time being to find a job then decide my next major move after that.

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Visit here for my review of 2003.