26 November 2017
Days 19 and 20 The last weekend
We had decided to do our very little bit to help The Gambia’s litter problem. The facilities at Yundum barracks school are very limited and they do not have the funds to buy bins to put in the school yards, which are much littered. We therefore went in search of wheelie-bins. Yes, the sort you and I use at home We drove past a number of shops that had wheelies of varying sizes and colours and stopped to enquire what was the best price. We wanted three, one for the yards of each of the Nursery, the LBS and the UBS. We found a store that would sell us three at a slight discount and bought them for a total of D4,800, or just under £30 each. These were duly tied to the roof of the van.
We made a quick stop to buy some graph paper for the workshop kits and then went to a couple of compounds. We went firstly to Fatou and Sulayman’s compound and had a very good chat there. Pippa gave Bintu Betty, their daughter a tablet as a prize for very good work. On then to Fatou Lisa’s compound, an old friend from our days at The Atlantic Hotel where she worked. Alhagie, her son, is the holder of the Ian Howard Memorial Scholarship and it was great to see them all again.
A short stop back at the hotel and then off to Linda’s for our second Gambia Pageant meeting. Abdoulie, Wandifa, Yankuba Pippa and I were all there. We mostly discussed admin matters but we did agree the programme of workshops to be delivered by Wandifa, Abdoulie and Yankuba in the period from when we go back, to when we come again in February. The plan is for them to give three workshops to schools on the north bank in December and one to a school on the south bank in January. One of the workshops on the north bank will be delivered to two schools simultaneously so two kit sets will be needed there.
Abdoulie, Yankuba and Wandifa left to go home, leaving Pippa and Linda to sort out money mostly for projects agreed but not yet started or part completed, and to bring Linda’s records up to date.
We were delighted to be asked to stay on for supper where Tida cooked us a really excellent Chicken Yassa. We were joined by Famara, Salif and of course all the children who earlier were happy to join in some maths games with us. Happy birthday to Mariama who will be 7 on Wednesday!
Our last full day in the Gambia for this trip. We went to Musa’s compound. Musa worked in the Atlantic Hotel for many, many years. Pippa and Ian met him on their first ever trip to The Gambia in 2000. He subsequently transferred to the airport restaurant, still working for the Atlantic Hotel, which manages the restaurant there. He retired at the end of October having worked for the hotel for nearly 30 years. He is great fun and is sorely missed at the airport where he was a friendly face to chat to whilst waiting for the plane.
Whilst there Wandifa had a call from the Headteacher of the Lower Basic School at Yundum Barracks. He had something for us and asked if he could deliver it. He arrived after a short period and gave us some wrapped presents. One each for Tom, Isaac and Yun, for everything they had done at the schools for the two days that they were there. Whatever they are, I am sure they will be highly appreciated.
We made a final visit to the Manneh family compound and then returned to the hotel for the afternoon.
This has been a very successful trip and we have all enjoyed ourselves immensely. Our thanks to Wandifa, Yankuba and Abdoulie for all their hard work. Abdoulie has, as ever been an absolutely brilliant driver.
This will be my final blog from The Gambia for the time being, although I will post some more photos when I return to the UK.
Kathy, Pippa and I are coming to The Gambia on 1 February and I will resume the blog then.
I have enjoyed writing this blog and hope you have enjoyed reading it.