29 April 2009


Travellers’ Tales Part 2!

Friday 10th April

Another 6am start in preparation for our long and busy day ‘up country’. We loaded all our belongings onto the minibus again and set off on the last leg of our journey that would take us as far as Jarring, the most easterly village along the river in The Gambia that we support. This is the home of many of our sponsored children, and
Yankuba’s home town, so he was to be in charge today.

We made a brief stop in Soma to buy some breakfast – the delicious Gambian quivalent of French bread, called ‘tapalapa’, filled with meat (Gambian choice) or banana (English preference on this occasion!). Soma is a main thoroughfare for both Gambian and Senagalese travellers, as it has a main river crossing here, so we met both French and English speaking children who stopped to talk to us. One of the constant delights of this wonderful country is the friendly nature of local inhabitants who, on seeing white travellers, are very happy to engage you in conversation – such a refreshing change from less gregarious westerners.

From Soma Abdoulie drove us ever carefully on until we reached our destination, Jarreng. Here we went in search of the young girl sponsored by Tina & Frances, and were somewhat nonplussed to find that she had gone to visit family elsewhere for a holiday! However, we were able to catch up with many other students who we had not seen for some time and to deliver the 50 mosquito nets, a bicycle for one lucky sponsored boy, and quantities of baby clothing so kindly made and donated by a ladies knitting group back in Surrey, England. Yankuba took charge of the distribution of all these items, and we would like to thank him for his excellent organisation. We were very pleased with the delighted, but ordered way in which these gifts were received, and we know they will be well used and appreciated.

More letter forms for students to write to their sponsors were delivered while we had a delicious fish lunch at Yankuba’s grandmother’s compound, then all too soon it was time to leave on our long trip back to Banjul. *T & F caught up with their sponsored girl on the way back, at her relative’s compound, so they were very happy! We also caught up with Lamin K, a nursing student at Soma on the return journey – we know he reads this blog, so he gets a special mention here!

We finally got back to the hotel via Wandifa’s home village of Kanikunda, at 12.45am, having been travelling since 6 the previous morning!! A long day indeed.
(text by Tina)

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