14 February 2015


Out of peanuts!

Having a well earned drink back at base-supplemented by the last saucer of peanuts in the establishment. Peanuts are virtually the the only export from the Gambia so to run out seems ironic. Incidentally our road home took us through a cloud of peanut dust. Any tourist heading for the normal beach strip of hotels from the airport would naturally pass under the conveyor connecting the two parts of the processing plant either side of the main road. An unsettling thought for those with a nut allergy. Anyway...
a pretty successful day. We departed 6:40 for Brikama and drove through the African dawn to our first science workshop of the trip. The school appeared deserted with the gate locked but thankfully it was not for long.
We had 45 minutes to set up before an 8:30 start. 17 teachers, some in post plus a few trainees. In the morning it was about imparting the idea that teaching off the board and enabling pupils to explore practically is a more effective approach than lecturing to the the class from the blackboard. Our subjects were microscopy,  physics and electronics.  They were all very engaged by this involving approach but did struggle with performing often quite simple arithmetic (as we expected) and the concept of radioactivity (a subject in their curriculum which can be explored through a neat dice throwing game) appeared entirely unknown. Andrew therefore shifted to another area where there is gradual drop off- medication effectiveness after stopping taking the pills. After lunch the teachers took turns teaching using rhe equipment and using the techniques introduced in the morning. A challenge for them to take this forward but we hope Gambia College will be able to provide some support.
This was all rounded off by a Valentine's dinner for 8 with a characteristic Gambian twist. Here are a few photos but Trudy has much better ones- don't think I should borrow the memory card just now as we have the same early start tomorrow.

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