Foreigners working in The Gambia: A chat with Swedish girl, Kim Amy Stuborn

Written by Alieu Khan

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Kim Amy Stuborn is a Swedish girl who was in the country last year to work as a massage therapist at the famous Coco Ocean. In this interview, she tells us about living and working in The Gambia.

What’s On-Gambia: Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Kim: My name is Kim, and I’m a 21 year old girl from Uppsala in Sweden. I work as a massage therapist. I love to travel and meet new people.

It looks like you have a multicultural background. Please explain.

You mean I don’t look Swedish? (Laughs)

Actually, I’m 100 percent Swedish, but yet a lot of people think I’m Asian, especially in The Gambia. All I hear when I walk on the streets is konitchiwa and things like that.

You were a massage therapist at the Coco Ocean. How did you happen to find yourself there?

My goal of moving to The Gambia was to get the experience of working in a different country. So when I arrived I start to apply for job in different spas, and Coco Ocean was my number one choice and they let me come in for an interview even though it was low season at the time. And I got the job! I was very happy!

But why The Gambia?

I have both family and friends in The Gambia, and I always come once a year for vacation. I absolutely love the country and the people!

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What were you doing before you started working with Coco Ocean?

I had actually just finished my education as a massage therapist at a massage school in Stockholm. So Coco Ocean was my first real job as a therapist and I learn so much by working there!

Was it easy getting a work permit in The Gambia?

My work helped me with the paperwork.

How was the salary compared to Sweden?

Compared to Sweden it was not a lot of money, but I wasn’t there to earn money. I was there for the experience!

What were the biggest adjustments you made? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?

Not any major adjustments. Compared to Sweden, Gambians are very warm people. Everybody is greeting each other and is like a big family. In Sweden, it’s not like that at all, you would never say hello to a stranger or so (laughs).

How did you go about meeting new people?

I already knew people before coming, so I got to know new people through them. I made amazing new friends who were my co-workers at Coco Ocean!

Describe an average working day at Coco Ocean?

The day always starts good at Coco Ocean, because it is such a beautiful place. Every day at the spa was different, depending how many guests we had. Sometimes, it could be super busy. At the end of the day, I would go to the beach to watch the sunset. So I loved working there as you can tell!

Why should young Europeans consider working in The Gambia?

If they want to have an experience of a life time they should definitely go! I have so many good memories.

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Have you lived or visited anywhere else in Africa before?

No, not yet! But I would love to go to Kenya.

What is your opinion about sex tourism in The Gambia?

I don’t like it at all; it’s never okay to sell yourself for money or to buy someone for sex. But yet I don’t know the life story of the people who do this kind of things.

Do you plan to go back?

Of course yes!

Any final words?

Thank you for having me, and thank you The Gambia for being so great!