Scooters in the Sahara 2008 travel blog

Scooters in the Sahara 2008

Jo travel blog
Welcome to my trip journal!

What's it all about? ... On the eve of 27th Dec 07, eight people from different walks of life and from all corners of the United Kingdom are embarking on a 4000+ mile journey from Ilford, Essex to Bansang, West Africa ... on Honda C90 Scooters. We are taking the scoots and two 4x4 vehicles, full of medical supplies and scoot parts, to a 3rd world hospital in Bansang, The Gambia, West Africa. We are travelling by road to Dover, ferry to Calais,road through France and Spain (Yes, I know it is damn freezing in the Pyrennes in Jan). Ferry from southern Spain to Morocco. From then on we are riding/driving our vehicles through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal finally arriving, approximately 3 weeks later, in Bansang. All the scooters, the trucks and supplies are donated to the Hospital and other community based Centres.

Bansang is an isolated town of 15,000 people, 200 miles from the tourist coast of The Gambia. The only road from the capital, Banjul, is virtually impassable and the journey can take as long as 16 hours. No tourists ever go to Bansang or even know it exists BUT Bansang does have a hospital which serves nearly 600,000 people , many of whom trek on foot or by horse & cart, for days, from the surrounding countries.

The health Care for this vast community is dispensed from within the walls of this small 160 bed facility that was originally designed and built by the British back in 1938. The majority of patients are admitted with serious health conditions - Malaria, diarrhoea, malnutrition, TB, burns etc are just a few of the more common entries. Once admitted to the wards the patient has to endure further complication and cross-infection. 3 children with a variety of infectious conditions regularly share a bed - this will increase to 4 when the malaria admissions swell the numbers dramatically.

The rainy season temperatures in Bansang, during June to October, hover constantly around 30c, together with saturating levels of humidity caused by the torrential rainfall. These rains turn the landscape into a quagmire, frequently villages are cut off. The dry season in Bansang is a blisteringly hot period where temperatures frequently rise to 50c. Temperatures on the wards become suffocatingly difficult to endure, with many patients losing the will to live.

It is very difficult to fully describe the extremely hostile climate and conditions, however, I do hope that this has given you a little insight to the cause that motivates our team. Please check out the Bansang Hospital Appeal website at

Honda C90's are extremely versatile forms of transport (check out TOP GEAR trying to destroy one!) The local people are taught how to maintain them and they are used by the medical teams to reach those in need of medical help, who are unable to make it to the hospital. Please check out the orginal,one and only time, this trip has been done at

Once there we spend some time helping out, where possible, at the hospital. Then, somehow (!) we will make our way to Banjul where the rest of the group will be flying home. I will be staying on for a few more weeks doing some teaching in a school (but I will be careful what I name the Teddy Bear!)

I haven't a clue how to do a BLOG .... but here goes!!

happy reading
Jo Pennell

Order: oldest at top ( reverse )

Jaq and Ian the Beard...
We all arrive at...
Prep day
Inside the Hospital
Brill day at Stellas,...
met up with my boyz :-)
woke up with dozens of...
just me left from the...
sett settal
sea fishing and ... sea...
CAI car or cash?
Right that's it - I...
NO DAVID! We are...
I'm sorry headmaster,...
Stella's place is the...
The kindness of strangers
Payback time
Stella died : - (
Farewell Africa x
a happy ending?
Feb 7/09
scooters in the sahara...
Share |