May 30, 2008, 6:07 AM
Two youth volunteers from the Republic of China on Taiwan in The Gambia have successfully come to the end of their six-month mission in the country and are set to leave soon.
In an interview with Youth Forum, the volunteers Ian Wang and Albert Yen said they feel happy to serve The Gambia.
The third fellow, Mars, who is on a two-year mission, is yet to complete his duty and as such was economical in words.
“The Gambian people are very friendly and hospitable,” they said. “And she is a colourful country, from fish to birds, from fruits to vegetables, from paintings to clothes are full of delightful colours. Besides, The Gambia is a peaceful country, I feel free and comfortable here. No wonder she is called the smiling coast of Africa.”
Ian Wang added: “Since I came here, the most impressive thing to me is the coming of the visiting mission which was led by my President, Mr Ma Ying-jeou. At that time, both presidents interacted with each other very kindly. And during the four days, all the programmes were done harmoniously. I can actually feel that Taiwan and The Gambia are just like brothers.”
According to Wang, he has been working as an IT volunteer with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MOFEA) since he arrived in the country last November.
“Right now we are working on the E-government programme and also upgrading the IT hardware and software of the MOFEA,” he said.
For his part, Albert Yen, another volunteer, said that ever since he arrived in The Gambia last November he has always felt at home.
“I’m a Taiwan ICDF volunteer and currently working in the Ministry of Information & Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) as an ICT specialist,” he said.
As being advertised, “The smiling coast of Africa” is my fist impression of The Gambia, most of the time the people I meet are friendly and warm-hearted - even though many of them are trying to sell me their products or services. What strikes me the most is that I always see many men gathering in the courtyard making, and drinking ataya (strong and sweet green tea) and chatting together, Albert said.
He added: “Luckily I also had the chance to visit a village called Berending, close to the south border, to witness their initiation ceremony, hair-shaving, traditional music and dance. From it I just realized that, even we are on the other side of the earth; Taiwanese aborigines also share some similar ritual events as African people. It is great to see those traditional cultures well preserved here.”