22 February 2010


Kathy’s blog Feb 22, 2010

I’ve been here nearly 2 weeks now and like last year had good intentions of doing a blog often. However this means remembering your email name and password! Finally thought to text Helen who was at home and ask her to send it to me.

Andrew, Ian (our son) and I came out with Ian Howard and Bob Skipper on Feb 10 to join Pippa and Anne Jackson who had been out since Feb 4 visiting schools and compounds- well you know how hard Pippa works when she comes out here! Anne is Andrew’s sister and a retired teacher. We were coming out this year to help run 4 workshops for science teachers on using microscopes in science lessons. Peter Evennett and his wife Katherine had arrived on Feb 9. Peter is a retired University lecturer in microscopy and Katherine also a scientist worked as a teacher and taught science teachers.

40 schools were invited in total to the workshops and 2 teachers from each school. We had to get 124 microscopes plus lots of small pieces of equipment out here for them. This meant absolutely huge amounts of luggage. Fortunately Thomas Cook had given us enough excess baggage allowance so when we got to Gatwick at 4.30am we got through check in fairly easily. We were met by Wandifa at Banjul. It was really good to see him again.

Each workshop took place in a school so we had to transport it all in a taxi minibus. It did all fit- just! We arrived at each school at 8.30 to set up and the workshops finished at about 4. Two ran in an organised timetable and 2 were more Gambian time. They were hard work as the standard of teachers experience varied a lot, but they were very enjoyable and I think the teachers gained quite a bit- at least I hope they did. They were very happy to be given a large holdall with the microscopes and extra stuff that we microscopists like to use, for them to take back to their own school for science lessons and hopefully a science club.

The school on the north bank meant a very early start to catch the ferry. Something I was looking forward to as I didn’t get to see the north bank on my last visit. I really liked it and would like to return.

Bob returned home last Thursday and Andrew and Ian returned home last Friday so we are a reduced group. The last workshop ran well but we did miss them.

This is my second visit to the Gambia and I see it with different and better eyes. I also really enjoyed meeting our kids we sponsored and doing a market shop followed by a good lunch at Billys and a swim at the hotel.

Today we are going down towards Brikama. Anne and I are visiting a school in Jambanjali which is linked with a school in Ipswich where a friend of Anne teaches. Pippa is visiting children further on below Brikama. In the afternoon we are hoping to visit Wandifa’s compound even though his wife has just had their second son (really just yesterday!)

If I want to get this up today I must finish now and go to the lobby to log onto the internet

Bye for now


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