What was once a dry field has grown into a well-managed Scout Lodge with a community focus and a warm welcome for all. Everyone who has experienced Kaira Konko first hand understands that it is impossible to leave this special place without taking a little piece of it home, and without leaving a piece of yourself behind.
A dusty road to Soma
Kaira Konko is in the small market town of Soma, which is located on the Trans-Gambia highway and is anywhere between 4 and 6 hours drive from Banjul (depending on the road condition). Visitors to Kaira Konko today are likely to arrive in the back of a hot, noisy 4X4 or gelli with a numb bottom and covered in red dust. But do not be put off; it is well worth the journey!
Leads to a garden oasis on the edge of the town
When arriving in Soma from Banjul, Kaira Konko Scout Lodge is the first building on the left. The ethos of Kaira Konko is summed up on the entrance wall where it is written "Try to leave the world and little better than you found it". The entrance to The Lodge is swathed with green boughs hiding a large compound with buildings brightly decorated with the flags of The Gambia, the United Kingdom and a portrait of Lord Baden Powell. At the rear of the Lodge there is a well, a garden growing vegetables and an orchard of mango, guava and orange trees, all produce that can be sold at the market to help feed the Scouts' families.
Accommodation to suit all budgets
Kaira Konko has a large hall (in which beds can be installed to create a large dormitory); four well appointed bedrooms, two en-suite tiled shower rooms with flushing toilets and one shared bathroom within the main Kaira Konko Lodge. There are two double en-suite bedrooms in a separate self contained building.
There is also a large kitchen and a bantaba – a covered outdoor dining area. If you would like it, the Kaira Konko Scouts can provide great food and a thorough laundry service.
Providing opportunities for young Gambians
Until a couple of years ago, Kaira Konko was built and run voluntarily by the Scouts. To make the project sustainable the Manager, the Assistant Manager and the House Keeper are now employed but the centre continues to depend on the volunteer Scouts. There are opportunities for those who work regularly to get a small wage or bonus. The girls help with cooking and laundry and the boys help with the garden and maintenance, traditional Gambian roles. Some Scouts, who otherwise would not receive a formal education, are sponsored through school and/or college. The Lodge and its purpose has the full backing of the local community and the Scouts are immensely proud of Kaira Konko. Kaira Konko is used regularly for workshops by various organisations because of its central location within the country.
A thriving Scout Group and a safe place for children to play
The Beavers, Cubs and Scouts hold their meetings on a Friday afternoon, but they come everyday with their friends just to play, hang out or chat. There is a healthy mix of girls and boys across all the age groups.
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