11 May 2014


April 2014 Sports Day at Jambanjelly LBS in more detail

It has struck me, on reading through the blogged diary of our last trip, that we never have time to tell the whole story behind a particular event.  So, here is the complete history of our April 2014 Sports Day at Jambanjelly LBS, showing how many people are involved and the effort that goes into just one small project.

In UK:
Fund-raising for April trip by Pageant runners (Frances, Rachel, Ellie, Caroline, Georgina, Charlotte, Ruth and Alice) - see http://pageant.org.uk/news140128.htm#update140324 for details
Group meeting to decide on age group and what we need to buy (Tina, Pippa, Frances, Caroline, Ellie, Rachel, Ian)
Order major equipment online: hoops, jump-sacks, eggs & spoons, hoppy racers, soft-touch balls, bean-bags, cones, coloured team bands (Pippa)
Buy smaller items locally: ‘medals’ (bag of 144 pieces of ‘golden treasure trove’ from party shop), gold thread, ball pumps & adaptors (Pippa)
Check things already in The Gambia: whistles, finishing tape (Tina)
Punch holes in all 144 ‘medals’ (Ben)
Pack all equipment up for taking on flight and arrange additional baggage allowance (Frances, Rachel, Ellie, Caroline, Tina)

In The Gambia:
Go to the school to arrange date and time of event, plus Grade (school year) and number of children to be involved.  Decide on maximum of 80 children, boys and girls, from Grade 4 (Pippa, Ian, Wandifa, Abdoulie)
Unpack and check all equipment (Frances, Rachel, Ellie, Caroline)
Thread ‘medals’ (Tina, Frances, Caroline, Ellie, Rachel, Ann, Pippa)

Devise transport method for (untangled!) threaded medals (Ian)
Pump up balls and hoppy racers (Brian, Ian)
Check that the hoppy racers work OK (Frances, Caroline, Ellie, Rachel)

On the day: (the Pageant team comprises Tina, Frances, Caroline, Ellie, Rachel, Pippa, Ian, Wandifa, Abdoulie)
Pack all the kit into the minibus to take to Jambanjelly and drive to the school – about one hour, arriving at 9.15am.
On arrival at the school decide where the event will take place – arrange the track layout, where the teams will wait between races etc.  Take all the equipment out and make a ‘safe area’ where it will be kept during the event – Wandifa on guard!

School organises 80 children, 40 each of boys and girls, and they file out to the sports ground (a sandy area just outside the main school compound).  We divide them into 4 teams, 10 boys and 10 girls in each team, and issue them with team bands – red, blue, green and yellow.  This is the first time we have used the team bands and they work really well.
The event is organised so that the girls run the first relay race of each type and then the boys – it is pretty chaotic to start with, but they soon get the hang of it.  We need a member of the ‘team’ as an organiser at each side for each team – i.e. 8 of us.  With Wandifa ‘on guard’ and Pippa watching who wins and doing the scoring we are one light, but one of the teachers steps in to help out.
We start with a plain running relay race and then progress through: bean-bags on heads, egg & spoon, hoop skipping:

hoppy racers:

and sack races.

Each race is demonstrated by Frances, Caroline, Ellie and Rachel, usually accompanied by gales of laughter…. The children usually do it much better, particularly the bean-bags on heads!!  The most difficult for the children is the hoppy racers and the most popular is the sack race.
We finish up with under-and-over, using the soft-touch balls instead of balloons – much better – after which all the teams collapse on the sand.

The red team is the winner by a margin of one point from yellow, but all the children receive a medal and are all delighted with their morning.

By the time we finish most of the school has come out to watch, as have several groups of children from the village who are not in school.  They have all been very well behaved, but we have had to weed some ‘extras’ out of the teams from time to time!
Many of the teachers have been watching closely and we have explained that we are leaving all the equipment with them so that the other children can have their own races later on in the school year.  The headmaster has been out to watch as well and is delighted with our efforts – he is at pains to thank us for our time and effort as well as for the equipment and says that this will mean a great deal to the school.
All in all a great success – MANY thanks to those who helped and everyone who sponsored the Pageant runners to enable them to fund the whole thing.

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