We met Evelyn and Gregg at the hotel around 6:30 and also ran into "Happiness," one of Ebrima's local mates. The four of us went for a drink and chatted a bit. Evelyn and Gregg liked Ebrima as well and expressed interest in visiting the village so the three of us agreed to discuss it that evening and meet Ebrima the next evening; we needed to figure out our budgets.
Ebrima said that we wouldn't pay for accommodation and that "everything is much cheaper in Gambia," but we had to consider transportation, food, Ebrima's guide fee, and, of course we planned to pay our hosting family something. We spent a significant amount of time considering the many factors: wanting to be fair to our guide and our hosts, wanting to gain the experience of life in an African village, but not wanting to spend too much in the process. Gregg and Evelyn, especially, needed to be careful of expenditures as they have ten more months of travel ahead of them.
We met Ebrima on Sunday evening to discuss costs. Our optimistic budget was to cover his traveling expenses and food only, as he was getting a "free" trip home. At that point, however, we learned that his day rate was CFA 10,000 per person! Our hopes were almost shattered; no way could be afford that plus expenses. We discussed this with him, explained Ev and Gregg's budget, that we didn't want to take advantage of anyone, and said we would have to go away again and reconsider the costs. Ebrima was reassuring, said we'd find a way to work it out, and not to worry; once we got to the village we wouldn't have to spend any money and anything we gave to the family would be greatly appreciated. We met the next day and agreed upon a price that everyone was comfortable with (which came to about $15/day per person) and planned to leave. Wednesday afternoon when our visas would be ready.
In discussions over the past few days, Ebrima had indicated to me that one reason he doesn't go home very often is because when he does there's a lot of pressure on him as the eldest son to bring gifts and money to his family. I had no concept of what this meant until much later.
On the way out of Dakar, we picked up some candy for the children of the village and asked what else might be appropriate to bring for our hosts. At first Ebrima was reluctant to provide us with suggestion. We were insistent that we didn't want to arrive empty handed. Finally he suggested second hand clothing for the children and said we could buy them en route, which we did in Farafenni. We selected about 10 shirts and pants. Ebrima negotiated costs and in total we spent about $8.