14 April 2013
Pippa & Tina catching up... Tuesday 9th April
The alarm went off at 5.15am (!), Abdoulie, Wandifa & Yankuba arrived on time at 5.45am, we loaded up the minibus, collected our packed breakfasts from the hotel kitchen and were off just after 6am – amazing!!
After a good journey (just a short stop at Soma to buy bananas and stretch our legs) we arrived at Jarreng just after 10am – the road improvements have certainly made the journey a lot quicker (only about 30Km is not tarmacked now). We were made very welcome by Yankuba’s grandmother, Mariama, in her compound and a host of Pageant-sponsored students, ladies hoping for a mosquito net and members of a senior boys’ football team began to arrive.
Wandifa and I gave out individual payments to the sponsored children and their parents while Yankuba distributed contents of packages of clothing and bedding to the families.
Then it was time for the mosquito nets – these are always the most prized gifts and competition for them was intense! Charlotte and Yankuba did a magnificent job of the distribution of 27 nets - there were a lot of smiling faces and ‘Abarake’ (thank-you) was heard from all sides.
The last donation was a set of football kit for the senior boys’ team, who had been waiting patiently all this time – the lads all put the shirts on immediately for a team photo (we decided that the shorts would be too difficult in the confined space in the compound) and when we presented them with a football as well their joy was complete. Our grateful thanks to Helen for the football kit – we hope that you and the donors like the photo.
After a delicious lunch of bread, fish (sadly, no-one could tell us what the fish was called) and sauce and a lot of hugs all round we set off back the way we had come – next stop was Wandifa’s home village of Kanikunda, which is near Soma. Here, we had more clothes to distribute as well as the remaining 27 nets – once more received with huge gratitude and enthusiasm.
Tina and Charlotte kept the children enthralled with songs and bubbles while Wandifa was distributing the nets, and were really impressed with how well the children listened and responded to the songs. Joe was adopted by a little boy who remained practically glued to his side the whole time we were there! We also gave out several pairs of (non-prescription) reading glasses to some of the older men, as they had asked for these on a previous occasion.
Back into the by now EXTREMELY hot minibus for the homeward journey. This was punctuated by a few stops:
to give out letter forms to children living along the road,
to take photos of a couple of very good students who are requesting sponsorship
and a short refreshment stop at Tendaba camp to show Charlotte and Joe the beautiful riverside scenery of that part of the country.
We eventually arrived back at the hotel just before 9.30pm – a long day, but we were delighted to have achieved so much without the need for an overnight stay, such as we have had to make in previous years.
Tina and I collapsed, very dirty, into a dark corner of the restaurant, where Bakary brought us a huge bowl of very welcome soup. Charlotte and Joe did the same… and then we all decided on a shower and bed…..