July - December 2005

Third stray dog programme planned for January                                 

 Those supporters who are wondering if we have shifted our focus, can rest assured that Dodou and his helpers spend most of their time during the year working with the cats at the hotels and other sites such as the Royal Victoria Hospital in Banjul. Regular visits are made to these sites to monitor the health of the cats and trap any newcomers, also to feed during times when the hotels are closed, or if the hotel does not provide adequate food. The cats are also given worm and flea treatment as often as supplies and time allow. This will always be the main purpose of GambiCats.

However, we are preparing a third programme for the stray dogs because of a surprise offer of help from two vets who are driving in the Plymouth - Banjul rally. They wanted to offer their services to us after the rally and the opportunity seemed too good to pass up! As the authorities have asked us several times to help with the dogs in Banjul, especially around the docks, this seemed an ideal programme to undertake with the 2 volunteer vets.

The two vets practise in the UK and will be leaving on the rally on December 27. We are all hoping that they will have a safe journey and arrive around January 20 in Banjul. If all goes to plan, we will be working with the many stray dogs around the docks in Banjul, between 22 to 28 January.
More news will follow in the next newsletter.....


Many of our supporters will have met or known Val Thompson on holidays in The Gambia. Val lived and worked there for many years, latterly at the Kairaba. She was a strong advocate for cats and managed to persuade hotels that they had an important role to play. She also had her own cat and looked after the many strays around her home in The Gambia.

Sadly, Val became ill and had to return to England early in 2005. She remained a very sparky person for quite a time, but then suffered a decline and died in November. She was much loved and is sorely missed by her human and animal friends alike. Our condolences go to friends and family.

Luckily, Val had started a book about her time at the Kairaba Hotel and the resident cats, monitor lizard and Hoppy the crow. Peter and Julie Ludlam turned the manuscript into a beautiful colour booklet, and were able to show Val a finished copy of The Kairaba cats & other stories a few days before she died.



Val wanted any proceeds from sales to be divided  between the Baati Linuere School and GambiCats - the 2 projects she helped so much.

Copies of The Kairaba cats & other stories   (20 pages & lots of lovely colour photos of Val and the animals) cost £3.00 (incl. P&P) from  GambiCats, Parc Llwyd, Aberporth, Cardigan SA43 2DU.  [cheques made payable to GambiCats please].






When GambiCats was established in 1998, a small group of Gambians came together to give support and advice as more hotels were lobbied to join the programme, and more Gambians were urged to neuter their cats and dogs. There was only one woman in this group, Borrie Jarzu, a very warm and lively person who worked in the Customs Department. She was a sister of Alaji Ndong, assistant to Dodou. Sadly, she contacted diabetes and gradually had to give up work as her condition deteriorated. She died in October and we send our deepest sympathy to her family & friends.                       





Some of you may well have visited the Medical Research Council at Fajara and noted its extensive grounds. We have known for a long time that a lot of cats enjoyed these grounds too and most had not been neutered. Now the MRC has asked GambiCats to help with trapping, neutering and returning to site - yet another location for Dodou and his helpers to cover, and one for GambiCats to fund.                 





Once again we thank the Alice Noakes Trust for another annual donation to help with feeding the cats at a number of our sites.


Following the sad death of Amadou Fatty, Dodou's son Fansu Bojang has now started to learn about GambiCats' work and help with feeding and general duties. We hope he finds the work rewarding and will continue to grow in the job.


SNIP International grew out of the London charity, the Society for Neutering Islington Pussies -  SNIP! Now a charity in its own right, it helps other cat charities overseas and has kindly donated a cage to GambiCats.                                    


·                    dog collars & leads (secondhand in reasonable condition)

·                    vet items: antiseptic cream/powder for skin wounds, earcleaning powder, sutures expiring after 2003 and absorbable, flea treatments, cotton wool, swabs, gauze, Drontal worming tablets


Due to the endless electricity cuts in The Gambia it seems that the friendly old-fashioned manual typewriter might be the answer to some of our communication problems. A generous supporter has donated a computer which Dodou is still getting to know. But if you know of a portable manual typewriter on offer in working condition please let us know.


The following list indicates different measures of 'co-operation', from those who pay the vets' bills to those who allow us on site to monitor cats and where we pay the vets' bills. When we started we hoped that some form of annual subscription might be agreed so that the hotels helped with GambiCats' running costs but this has not been taken up so far! We have not given up...

Hotels: African Village, Atlantic Corinthian, Badala Park, Bakotu, Banna Beach, Bijilo Beach, Bungalow Beach, Cape Point,  Coconut Residence, Fajara,  Holiday Beach, Kairaba, Kololi, Kombo Beach, Luigi's, Ngala Lodge, Ocean Bay (Mariatou),  Palm Grove, Palma Rima, ROC Heights, Safari Garden, Senegambia, Sun Beach, Sunset Beach, Tafbel. Restaurants:  Ali Baba, Antonico, Bailey's Bar, Calypso Bar, Captain's Table, Domino Bar, Francisco's, Mamas, Sailors, Scala,  Tropic Garden

Other sites: Barra Fish Factory, Craft Market (Kombo),  Medical Research Council,  Royal Victoria Hospital (3 sites), Tanji Camel Safari, Tanji Rural History Museum.

Kombo Beach and Scala Restaurant have also established Cat Cafes.