The history of the project
In 2004, my husband and I, who had been visiting The Gambia since 1982, discovered a large compound for sale at Gungur Beach in the south of the country, some six miles from the border with Senegal. Falling instantly in love, we bought it, and decided to make it our ‘green’ project.
The existing house was small, had no electricity, and a scarcity of water which had to be hand-drawn from a rather shallow well. However, it sat in almost an acre of ground, with five lovely Eucalyptus trees, mature mango trees and a few beautiful, tropical plants. The potential of the place was obvious.
Tilo House has been vastly improved since then. A borehole was dug, and a solar powered pump installed, providing as much beautiful, clean water as anyone could need. Photovoltaic panels on the roof provide us with electricity, using very high tech, low energy light bulbs throughout, and although this is not the only compound in the area with this luxury, it is the only one without the annoying background noise of a generator.
We added two more bedrooms, each with their own western-style bathroom, and all constructed by local people. We had furniture made for the house, again using local craftsmen, using mahogany and other hardwoods, tiled the patios and began to create the garden, which now includes a vegetable garden, a youthful orchard, many glorious flowering shrubs and a couple of tall stands of bamboo. An outside staircase leads up to a flat roof, perfect for sunbathing during the day and, in the early evening, for watching the sun go down in glorious technicolour.