06 February 2020
February 2020. Days 1 & 2
Days 1-2 Tuesday 4 Feb- wed 5 Feb
In the past we had always travelled to the Gambia with Thomas Cook Airlines but after their collapse we had to find an alternative airline. Whilst there is another airline that flies direct to the Gambia from the UK it is considerably more expensive and is restrictive on the amount of baggage you can take. After research we decided to travel with TAP Portugal which flew London to Lisbon and then a connecting flight to Banjul.
This was considerably cheaper than flying direct and had the advantage of allowing us to take a large amount of baggage, so armed with three very large suitcases crammed to capacity and three large carefully packaged boxes containing 30 microscopes and kit for the physics workshops we headed for the airport.
We dropped the bags off on Tuesday morning even though our flight was later in the afternoon. We had a very good flight which landed on time in Lisbon giving us plenty of time to catch the connecting flight. The planes had plenty of legroom and were comfortable. Everything went very smoothly and whilst other airlines are available, I would be quite happy to recommend this airline and route. We landed on time at 01.10 Wed morning and amazingly our luggage was first off the plane so we were able to get away quickly!
At the moment the terminal building at Banjul airport is chaotic due to the construction work there and people meeting travellers are not allowed inside the building. However, Wandifa, Abdoulie and Yankuba were waiting for us outside and transported us to the hotel in the recently acquired PAGEANT mpv. We arrived at the hotel just before 02.30 and staggered off to bed.
After a late breakfast we had a leisurely morning. Linda came over to the hotel and we caught up with her before heading off to Yundum barracks LBS and UBS schools.
Pageant is facilitating the building of a school library from scratch at the school. This is being funded by a legacy given to Pageant. Architects plans have been drawn up and agreed, and construction work has commenced. We are fortunate that the labour to build the library has been provided by army engineers so reducing the costs. The foundations have been laid and work on the walls has started. Everyone, staff at the school, the army personnel and we at Pageant are very excited about it.
The schools have also started a vegetable garden. They have produced amazing results in less than three months.
We were wilting in the heat of a very hot day so after leaving went to a supermarket to get essential
supplies then back to the hotel for a rest, dinner and an early night.
Upload speeds are very slow at the moments, so I shall post some photos of the work-in-progress at the school and the garden later