By Sailu Bah and Rohey Jadama
People from Ndagaan in the outskirts of Banjul live in an isolated area and appeared less privileged compared to others in the general society. The isolated nature of the settlement compelled the Foroyaa reporters to visit the area on the 9th July 2014 with a view to interviewing the villagers.
Ndagaan is in Banjul North constituency and under tobacco road ward. It is situated just after the dump site in Mile-2 behind the RVTH Sanatorium.
The village was in existence since the early 50s. It was said to be established by a woman called Mba Fatou Njie from Badibu Kooba Kunda. It now has more than 100 inhabitants with twelve households.
At first the area they were occupying was owned by one Lebanese who eventually asked them to leave the area because he wanted to build on it. Later on, they used the oyster shells to block the sea water from reaching the area so that they could have more space to build their huts.
It has been observed that different ethnic groups are now occupying the area,but the majority are the Jola speaking people who descended from Casamance and came to settle in the place before independence.
Ndagaan lacks lot of facilities such as electricityand toilets, and the residents have no access to basic education, but a Nursery school.
The environment is polluted with smoke rising from the dumping site. The houses mainly patched huts are vulnerable to disaster since they are located right on the river bank.
In an interview with residents of Ndagaan they described their living condition as very poor, that the whole village has one toilet that was built just recently. Another problem they said they are facing is that there are no shops in Ndagaan. So as a result, they trek long distances to buy basic commodities.
According to residents of Ndangaan, there is no access road linking them to the main Banjul highway.
Their main source of income they say is Oyster harvesting, that the oyster they harvest is sold at the Banjul Market. But they said in most cases they cannot sell the entire oyster, noting they do not have any storage facility to store the remaining oyster for future use. They also said that for a long time they have been living there without a water tap that they used to trek long distance just to get water but now have only one tap. They informed the reporters that the installation of their only tap was sponsored by one British philanthropist by the name of Lars Erik Anderson, who came to the village months ago and installed a tap for them. They said the tap was inaugurated 3 days ago by the Mayor of Banjul.
The Caucasian also built a nursery school for their children free of charge. They said in most of the cases when elections come they used to see different people who would come to them and ask them to vote with lot of promises but after the election no one would go back to them any more.
They praised the current Mayor of Banjul whom they said has come to the village on several occasions to know their problems and they are hoping that he would help them.
They described their situation as difficult, ie. to pay for their children’ school. They are appealing to the government and to the council to help the children with scholarships. They said when the rainy season comes it is difficult for them because they always experience floods and the loss of their properties.
According to these desperate resident of a forgotten village, their houses are not that much strong to resist heavy rains. They mentioned that their children have graduated from the senior secondary schools but they don’t have access to employment or access to further their higher education.