Being given the opportunity to go out to The Gambia and witness first hand what it's like to live in a country that is stricken with poverty is an opportunity of a life time, that very few people are able to say they've done. Their villages are unlike anything you could imagine and the living conditions are so poor it's hard for us back in the U.K to even imagine living in. However, the villagers still retain a strong sense of community, possibly more so than we have back home. On approaching the village, the first sight is that of children happily riding old bikes around the sand, playing games with one another and kicking footballs around (which is by far the most popular sport in The Gambia!). One of the children admitted that he loved his life and enjoyed living where he did, which was on the edge of a large rubbish dump. The trip really opened my eyes to what life is like in The Gambia and I feel extremely grateful that my school, Ridgewood High School, has given me, along with many other year 10 and 11 students the chance to go to the part of the world that we did and be part of the amazing experience! However, our school would not be able to make this happen, and send out a trip each year without the help of outside sources that provide us with extra fundraising, like Halesowen Cycling Club did when we raised £1000 during the Halesowen 100 sportive in 2015. It really shows that we as cyclists can come together and raise such a large amount of money by doing the thing that we love.