19 April 2011
Day 9: 19 April - Meeeehhhh.... meeehhhhh (Gambian goat speak!!)
At last the day arrived – Goat buying Day! This is a first for PAGEANT, and we were quite excited at the prospect of a new 'Gambia experience'! Our first stop was to ensure that the shelter we had arranged for had been built, to prevent the new goats from being stolen. We arrived at the family compound to find an excellent shelter, complete with ventilation, food and water, and lockable door had indeed been built! Furthermore, the goats had already been purchased at the market, and were installed in their new surroundings, looking very much at home. This was very good news, as we had been quite nervous about the prospect of leading several possibly reluctant goats through dusty streets, with amused onlookers to help or hinder our progress! So as of today, we are proud to announce that Bill, Sophie, Eloise, Buzz, and Eli goats are installed, and that Nia and Huw will be joining them soon! MANY grateful thanks to all of you who have so generously donated money towards this new project, which has been so rapturously received by the locals here. We have decided that when a family receives donated goats, they must donate two baby goats to another family in need as soon as they can, to spread the good fortune. As one of the goats is heavily pregnant in our first 'batch', this should not take too long to achieve! We note that the goat fund is still growing, so plan to arrange for two more shelters and sets of goats to be distributed before we leave, giving two more families real help to prosper through the rainy season ahead.
As you will see from the photos, this particular family also received a large bag of rice, and a mosquito net to feed and protect their young children during the months to come. To say they were speechless with pleasure is an understatement!
On with our day, the next stop was to visit a newly sponsored 5 year old boy, take his photo for our records, talk to his mother, and check that all was well. He was a real cutie and very happy to receive his PAGEANT pencil case!
Next was a visit to the family compound of an old friend from GTTI, whom we have always previously met at the college. This time we were to see what he does in his spare time at home, and we were not disappointed! He has had the forethought to form a village Association, to look after the needs of the local community. The first task they set themselves was to clean up the streets so that there are no snakes lurking in the rubbish. This seemed an excellent start to us, and the results were certainly impressive! Next they have begun to build a small nursery school, with one classroom already up and running, which doubles in the evening as a space - with lighting no less – for Grade 9 students to revise and study for exams! Not content with that, Fax has organised teams of young people to dig toilets and do other od jobs for the elderly in the village who need help. A truly community spirited man! You would really approve Chris R!
In the evening Linda joined us at the hotel for a meal, and we managed an early night for once. Not really living on the wild side, are we?!
Lots of love to all xxxx