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

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