13 November 2009


Pippa and Ian's October 2009 trip - part 5

Wednesday 21 October: North Bank day, so we decided to give Abdoulie a rest, catch the ferry as foot passengers and get a Barra taxi for our journey around the places we needed to visit. Ian was feeling a lot better by now, so he, Wandifa and I caught the second ferry of the day as planned - goodness, could this really be happening? A North bank trip going to plan - unheard of! We found a really excellent Barra taxi driver (must remember his phone number for our next trip!) and set off - Essau UBS first stop. Here we had the very pleasant task of telling the headmaster about the wonderful sponsorship raised for his school by the efforts of Sarah Hayes (see the website for details). To say he was delighted would be an understatement... we took some photos of the areas (bookstore and the staffroom) that are to be renovated first - again, Wandifa will check progress and release more funding as the stages of the work are completed.
Then to Bakalarr BCS - just a quick visit today as our time was so limited, but I am delighted to say that we were able to partake of our favourite Gambian meal - a Bakalarr breakfast! All our friends at the school were well and the Grade 9 results had been pretty good (with the exception of English - what has happened there, I wonder?). We discussed a couple of possible projects and will see what funding becomes available later in the year. We were able to give out more sponsorship to families in the Bakalarr area and then set off for Albreda, where we visited Wandifa's brother's family and the little cafe by the jetty. Our friend Abdou at the cafe was sad to find we were not staying the night at the rest camp this time - next year, we said....
After some cool drinks (heaven!) back in the taxi for the very hot ride back to Barra for the ferry ride home. We arrived at Barra and - good heavens, a ferry was waiting... could this continuing good fortune be possible?
And then.... the ferry took one hour forty two mintes to make the crossing!! (For the uninitiated it usually takes 40 minutes - an hour on a bad day). It was 40 degrees Centigrade, no shade on the ferry, no breeze and the ferry was barely winning against the tide... my word, it was hot! We eventually got back to the hotel - too late for Happy Hour - and flopped into chairs by the pool bar, where Julbrews and cold Sprites appeared as if by magic. Thank you, lovely Atlantic staff...

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