Saturday, 8 December 2012

Gambia Is The New Haven For Old British Women Looking For Young Love

The Gambia — a country known as the Smiling Coast of Africa — fits the bill for just what middle-aged British women are seeking….chatting and sipping cocktails on a sunshine holiday.


Gambian gamble ... Polly Francis and 32-year-old Lamin Sarr

The smiling, obliging and charming Africans give them the kind of attention that some of them may not have enjoyed for years - And that, put simply, is love.

Many of these unlucky-in-love women want to return home from their two-week break with a tan, a smile — and a new lover in tow who can give them the affection they have craved for years.



The young men, some of them teenagers, target the white women…they see them as their ticket to a new life in a country with endless opportunities. In a country where half the population live below the poverty line and the average wage is £30 a week, a European girlfriend seems to make perfect sense.

But a happy ending is not guaranteed.


Solomon was one of the first wave of Gambians to marry a Brit — holidaymaker Catherine, who he met in 1992 when he worked as her tour rep.

He said:

Quote
She was nine years older than me. She had not been loved. She had grown up in a care home and run away. Life with a caring Gambian who romanced her was probably amazing. We got married so I could go to the UK but I felt trapped there — it was boring, just me and her.

“When we had our son Peace, who is now 17, she didn’t like my Gambian lifestyle any more. She got annoyed with me smoking wacky baccy, hanging out in the pub and chilling out.

“I went to the council and got my own flat and she had hers. We split up”.



Party town ... young tourists mix with Gambian locals in Kololi



Polly and I are real' ... Lamin Sarr embraces Polly Francis, who he calls his 'wife'


After 30 years in London, Polly Francis moved to The Gambia when she met hotel receptionist Lamin Sarr eight years ago. The retired nurse, who is in her 50s, used inheritance money to build them a home.

She said:

Quote
“I know I’m old enough to be his mum and that people must think I just came here looking for a toyboy but I didn’t. I fell in love.

“He is a gentleman — quiet and strong, my best friend.”

Polly — who has just had a hip replacement — can’t afford the £800 UK visa for Lamin and they are not married because she is not yet divorced from her husband.
She said: “Our home here has no running water but I wouldn’t swap it for London. I don’t miss the rushing around. I do miss my family, though.”

She has a daughter and two sons — aged 40 and 30 — and said: “My elder son found my relationship hard to accept but my younger son has visited us. He and Lamin get on well”.

And Lamin, 33, said: “I love Polly. I call her ‘the wife’. The men who marry for the wrong reasons are trying their luck”. “I don’t blame them. But Polly and I are real. She makes me happy — she is wonderful.”

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