17 February 2014


Back home

Have managed to get back without a diversion from Gatwick to Stansted but it was a close run thing! We came back on Friday in the evening of the last storm and the wind was so strong the plane had to abort the first try at landing and come round for a second go. Luckily we managed it. After that the planes were diverted so it would have been a very tiring night if we had to travel back from Stansted - almost worse than the Banjul Ferry!

The last few days were spent visiting compounds and schools, with a trip to Humanities Nursery on our last day, en route to the airport. What a fantastic nursery this is, mostly funded by Pageant and Fax (hope I have spelled his name correctly - apologies if not) the owner and founder. There are three classes in this little school but the excellent teaching and the spotless toilets were a credit to the school.

For those of you who haven't been to The Gambia with Pippa and Ian, a typical day starts about 9.30 and finishes about 4 or 5. It involves a long hot day in and out of the minibus, with Wandifa and Abdoulie along to drive and help translate and administer the sponsorship. Pippa and Ian visit schools and families, checking that all is well with the children and that the money we all donate is used to support their education. They give out the empty forms for the children to write a letter to each sponsor, or draw a picture if they are too young to write. They will then collect as many as they can before returning to the UK.

The pictures below give an idea of the workshops and some of the people we met. For each workshop we showed the trainee teachers how to use the microscopes, lenses and binoculars we brought with us, looking at a selection of food, fabric, materials like sand (plenty of that) and whatever else we could lay our hands on. Then at the end of the day a number of children came in to the workshop from a local school and we watched how each teacher taught them about the microscopes. At the end of their teaching course, when they go out to a school the best ten teachers will get a set of equipment which includes a microscope, lenses and things to keep the children interested in science and exploring their world with the microscope. Everything was organised by Pippa and Ian in collaboration with Mr Ceesay the head of science at the Gambia Teacher Training College, Wandifa, Abdoulie and Yankuba.

The youngest class at Humanities nursery 

 Pippa and Abdoulie helping a student teacher at the workshop

 Hopefully planning the lesson for the children!

 Children from the local school looking through really good cardboard binolculars

 Visiting a compound, Pippa looking through her paperwork

The second workshop team getting ready for the day - Kasia on the right, Pippa and I on the left. Regina in the centre talking to Sarah, a Peace Corps volunteer who helped out that day. She is standing next to Wandifa, and last but not least Abdoulie with his lovely Pageant blue hat.

A video of some children at a compound grinding the corn

Some children at a compound wearing pipecleaner glasses made by Abdoulie

13 February 2014


second workshop completed

Well the first thing I need to say is that I have spelled Kasia's name incorrectly in the last blog.The next is that we completed the second workshop on Monday after visiting a few compounds on the Sunday. We were able to see some of the children or young adults that are sponsored. I hope to add some images here but if not then on Saturday when we get back.. The workshop went well and we were helped by Regina and Kasia as well as Abdoulie and Wandifa. Sarah, a peace corps volunteer also came and Linda was
there on the Saturday.  It is very useful to have her teaching experience for these workshops.
The visit to the compounds was lovely and Abdoulie made some glasses for the children from glitzy pipecleaners.
On the Tuesday we went to the northbank on the one remaining ferry. It wasn't too bad. Coming back we were amused by the large cockroach and small rat travelling with us.
Yesterday we had a lazy day by the pool while Pippa and Ian travelled around Banjul visiting compounds. The weather is lovely but very hot. Not looking forward to going back to the rain.

09 February 2014


one workshop done, one to go

Well hoped this would be my second blog but thefirst one didnt make it for some reason.
We came out with Pippa, Ian, David, Regina and Katia on thursday 6 feb. The flight was okbut delayed but customs worked fine with the letter Pippa had received from the gambian college saying the equipment was for science workshops. Wandifa and Abdoulie were there to meet us and it was great to see them. The weather here is very hot at about 35. What a change from the uk. No rain, lovely. We did the first workshop yesterday and it went very well apart from the start. It was due to begin at 9 and  by 9.30 we had only 9 teacher students. The rest arrived by 10.other than that it went welland they seemed to enjoy it.
Today we are visiting compounds and sponsored children. Tomorrow another workshop and then on tuesday we will try the remaining ferry. Will then try to blog on wednesday and let youknow how it went!

Kathy and Andrew