About Me

koriteh photo

My name is Jessica Danielle Fryman, but I also answer to Fatoumata Camara.

I know three languages, the third being a tribal tongue less than one percent of the world speaks. I like to run even though I’m not that good at it. I read a lot. And I once published a book I wrote, setting all the type by hand on an old-fashioned printing press. I’m an avid traveler and amateur photographer. I’m also a master spider-killer and possess the ability to stalk my prey without the squeamish screams of my former urban life.

I’m originally from Las Vegas, a city with more people than the entire country where I currently live. I now reside in a two-room concrete house with a tin roof and a ceiling made of rice bags. I eat with my hand out of a shared food bowl. I walk down a dirt road to fetch my water and carry it home in a bucket on my head. And yes, I even poop in a hole in the ground.

swearin photoI am a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia.

Throughout my two-year service, I am training primary teachers to use interactive methodology, working to improve student literacy and helping to create learning resources, including a school library. About 600 students, grades 1-6, attend the lower basic school where I do my primary project work.

I also am starting a bee farming business with my host brother and am learning as we go!

My journey to this tiny West African country has been a round-about one.

My first love was journalism. I founded my high school newspaper when I was 14. The staff later named the newsroom in my honor. I went on to be Editor-in-Chief of The Nevada Sagebrush, the nationally-acclaimed news organization at my college. In the summers, I interned around the country. I earned my Bachelor’s from The University of Nevada in the spring of 2011. Then, I started working at my hometown’s paper, The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

As a writer, I’ve always been drawn to the stories about people: their fights for equal rights or tales of everyday struggles.

But I wanted to stop observing and do.

In January 2012, I moved to Santiago, Chile, on a one-way ticket. I became certified in teaching English, then taught various ages and levels for just over two years. After seeing the inequitable education systems in South America, I decided, once again, I needed to do more for the world.

So here I am, in a rural village on the south bank of The Gambia River – dancing to the beat of a wild drum and doing what I can to make a difference.


7 Responses

  1. Julie February 2, 2016 at 4:51 pm · Reply

    Hi Jessica,

    My name is Julie and I’m an incoming Education Volunteer in The Gambia, scheduled to arrive in country in late May/early June. Just wanted to get in touch via email with specific questions about your experience so far! Love your blog– looks like you’re having a really meaningful experience.

    Looking forward to connecting!


  2. Christine / Kaddy Sise March 2, 2017 at 8:59 am · Reply

    Hi Jessica! I read your piece on making reusable pads and I was really hoping you might know of anybody doing this inbKombi? My friend has just moved from provinces to go to high school and I am wondering how to help her from afar with this aspect of schooling influence. It’ it seems more feasible if she can learn to make them herself rather than me sending more and more even reusable Ines. But is there a chance you have any resources or could refer me to someone at the coast who knows how? Thank you so much!

  3. Jessica Fryman March 11, 2017 at 1:40 pm · Reply

    Hi Christine!

    Thanks for the interest! You should talk to Haddy Sowe. She knows how to make them and should have some materials for patterns and such. She might also remember some of the volunteers who helped me in my session at Explore Your Country last year and are still in-country. There is also an endless supply of different styles of reusable pads online, so you could do a bit of research and choose a pattern that works best for you. Let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to email me any time. (fryman.j@gmail.com)Best of luck with the rest of your service!

  4. Catherine Pipkin January 24, 2018 at 5:51 pm · Reply

    Hi, I am going to Gambia next month to visit a family I sponsor. I wanted to take out some sanitary towels, then thought about taking reusable ones. The more I have researched this topic the more I realise people have had similar ideas throughout Africa! Please can you tell me more about your initiative teaching school girls how to make their own pads and where abouts in Gambia it is based? I am travelling to Bakau and there are many girls who’s education is sponsored by our group who I’m sure would be interested in making their own pads! X

    1. Jessica Fryman January 25, 2018 at 12:19 am · Reply

      Hi Catherine,

      Thanks for the work you do to support girls’ education in The Gambia! Let’s connect via email to talk about your project.

      Talk to you soon!

  5. Kendra Vance December 6, 2018 at 9:04 pm · Reply

    Hi Jessica! I enjoyed reading about your experiences and stories in The Gambia. I’ve been seriously considering joining the Peace Corps for some time now, though I’m not exactly sure about where I’d want to go. I’m trying to contact several ladies who are living our in a few different location, and I was wondering if I could ask you personally (via email) some other, more detailed questions about some of my concerns. Would love to hear back from you! x

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