MP Claire Perry is looking forward to staying in an African village where she and her teenage daughter will live in a compound without electricity or running water.
The Conservative MP for Devizes hopes to “get my hands dirty” when she and 13-year-old Eliza spend a week with a local family in the coastal village of Gunjur in the Gambia next month.
As well as experiencing first-hand the difficulties arising from the village’s lack of basic facilities, the pair will see the results of numerous projects undertaken by Marlborough people.
These include a pre-school project, women’s vegetable gardens, water and sanitation programme, anti-malaria and health education projects and an initiative aiding disabled youngsters.
Although Marlborough’s links with the West African Muslim community go back more than three decades it will be the first time that it has received a visit from the town’s MP.
Mother-of-three Mrs Perry said: “I have spoken to so many people from Marlborough who have been to Gunjur. Now I am really looking forward to visiting it myself.
“This is a great opportunity for me – especially to be able to share the experience with one of my children.”
She said she had promised Dr Nick Maurice, director of the Marlborough Brandt Group (MBG), for some time that she would visit. The group was founded in 1981 to help the people of Gunjur.
She said: “I am still awaiting permission from my party, but I don’t see any problems.
“I am looking forward to seeing for myself the value of the link between the two communities — how important it is both to Marlborough and Gunjur.
“Literally hundreds of Marlborough people have been there and helped out with so many projects. But it’s definitely a two-way thing. From talking to them I believe that visiting Gunjur has been a life-enhancing and inspirational experience.
“I think they have come back thinking about how lucky they are and perhaps have learnt something about the value of families and communities.”
Dr Maurice said “There is no doubt that this will give enormous encouragement and a feeling of real solidarity to our friends and colleagues in Gunjur — and women in particular — to have our MP living with them for a week.”