Sisters of Saint Joseph of Annecy

My Experience in West Africa - Gambia (BasseCommunity)

“God can do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us.” Ephesians 3:20

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sunshine. Life gives each person different experiences that affect individual opportunities and future choices.”

My dream came true when I stared my long international flights journeys having 3 lay overs. It was a very long journey but the Lord was with me throughout my travels. Finally, I reached my destination safely on 8th September 2023. Upon my arrival in Senegal, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to God for His unwavering love and guidance throughout my lifetime and specially during my journey. I would like to express my appreciation to Rev. Sr. Breda, the Superior General for her trust in me and providing with this great opportunity to explore and experience the West African Continent.  

Rev. Sr. Marie Pierre, the Regional Superior was waiting for my arrival and welcomed me with much warmth and understanding. My initial experience in Dakar Community was like a cultural shock, but I sought solace in prayer and asked Jesus to bless me with the ability to love and accept everyone as He accepts and loves. The following day, we   travelled to Tambacounda, the Regional House and where I trying to understand the culture, sisters and people, then I grew to appreciate after each one in two days of adjustment. 

I must acknowledge here Sr. Marie Pierre for her warm welcome at the Congo Regional House and extend my gratitude to all the sisters who assisted me both spiritually and materially during my time in Congo and Senegal. I remain ever grateful particularly to Sr Marie Pierre for granting me extra time to rest and adjust. She took great care of me during my stay with her. I had the opportunity to attend a First Profession event. It was incredibly moving and I was one with all the sisters and enjoyed the celebration in being together. 

On September 26, 2023, I arrived in Basse, where the community warmly welcomed me, making me immensely happy. In turn, I began assisting and sharing my talents and knowledge with the community and its mission. I would like to thank Rev, Sr Donisia who introduced to me about the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and the Director. 

From October 3, 2023, I started working at the Social Welfare Department, a government institution responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of vulnerable individuals in the society. The department operates under specific values and principles with a team of eight staff members. Mr. Kebba Jatta is the Regional Director for Upper River, who has been guiding me in my activities. 

I conducted fieldwork and encountered people who were economically poor but had generous hearts and immense simplicity. They display great respect and warmth towards others, regardless of familiarity. It was heartening to see that everyone spoke English, and the unity between Muslims and Christians was inspiring. 

I had the privilege of meeting the President of Gambia and his spouse, as well as the Governor of the Upper River Region, which allowed me to experience the full spectrum of Gambia. On October 5, 2023, I visited Sandu district, the village of Dajabugu Batapa, where I delivered a motivational talk to children and taught them an action dance. 

During this short period of my time in Gambia, I have already visited various institutions, including the GambianImmigration Department, the Regional Social Welfare Department, the Human Rights Centre, and the Magistrate Court in Basse which observes different lawsuits. 

                      All these experiences reinforced my belief that God has a purpose for my well-being. I am continually grateful for the opportunities to witness His presence in the world. Finally, I remain thankful to Rev Srs. Leena, Prasanna and Shiny for all the systematic and meticulous preparation/ arrangements, advice and all the support and love shown me before I left for my international travel. 



➢ Learn about the day-to-day work of social welfare and outreach

➢ Navigate how to work effectively with different cultural values

➢ Demonstrate my self-motivation, commitment to the social work field, and the ability to adapt to a variety of circumstances

                                                                                                                                Sr. Rupanjoli Sja