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Meet Belgian girl who visited The Gambia and fell madly in love with the country
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Meet Belgian girl who visited The Gambia and fell madly in love with the country

The Gambia doesn’t appeal to Kelly at first sight. The level of poverty and underdevelopment in the country almost scared the young Belgian tourist away.  But what made her to suddenly fall in love with the country? Read our interview to find out:

What’s On-Gambia: Can you tell us briefly about yourself?

Kelly:I'm Kelly Paulissen, 22 years old and I live in a town in the Flemish part of Belgium. It’s an hour’s drive from Antwerp and Brussels.

When did you visit The Gambia and was it your first time in the country?

I went to The Gambia in February 2016, for only eight days. It was my first visit to your country, but not to Africa. I've been in Tunisia six times, but it was totally different! My dad introduced me to The Gambia. He has been there eight times and loves your country.

How would you describe your Gambian experience?

The first days were strange because it was my first holiday with my dad, plus the country was so different and poor. But the people are so happy and friendly. My holiday got better each day and at the end I didn’t want to leave.

Why you didn’t want to leave?

It felt like I wasn’t ready to leave just like that. And that feeling was what I loved the most because I never had that feeling before. They always say less is more and the people in The Gambia are the perfect example of that expression. They are much happier than me and I live in a rich country with all my clothes and laptop and big bedroom. When you go to a shop in Belgium, everyone is moody and in a hurry.

So when are you visiting again?

I hope to visit The Gambia again in April this year, so that I can visit some places where they work with volunteers and check out if that could be something I would like to do next winter.

Did you make any friends during your visit?

 Yes, I made some friends and I can’t wait to see them again. And also the dogs out there on the beach, they are so adorable.

What would you like to tell Belgians who have not yet visited The Gambian?

I can tell you more than 1000 reasons why they should visit your country, but I think they will only get it if they visit themselves. I dare them!

Watch below Kelly’s Gambia experience:

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