22 February 2015


trip to the north bank

Ok so I thought originally I would post this one with the goodbye to Chris but it deserves one on its own.
Up very early to leave at 6.20 to get the first ferry. Waiting to board we realised it wasn't going to be on time since it was not floating but resting on the sand following a very low tide.only one ferry is running this year but it has new engines so we were looking forward to a faster crossing. Indeed once we were on board and sitting on the very few seats luckily,it left half an hour late and raced along. The weather was really windy and the river and sea choppy so the small pirogues we saw had to turn back. The waves broke over the front of the ferry drenching all the Gambians standing between the cars (lots) and their parcels and animals. It was really windy and cold where we were but at least we were dry. 35 minutes to cross! 15 minutes to get everyone off.
We had a taxi arranged by Wandifa and we drove to a school, Albreda, where although a Saturday the head teacher and others had come in to see us. They showed us the new girls toilet block they had built with funds from PAGEANT. They were very good and even had tiled floors. The head said that the doors were being fitted that very day and within 10 minutes they turned up. He is a  very impressive head teacher with a clear vision and strong determination to improve the school. They need some help to.finish the kitchen floor and stoves and also to renovate two buildings for classrooms and teachers living accommodation. It is difficult for him to keep good teachers as there is nowhere nearby for them to live.
He had very kindly provided a lovely breakfast of bread, salad and corned beef fritters as well as tea and cold fizzy drinks. They have so little but share it all.
We went on to visit Bakkery and his family who are sponsored by pageant members.He is Wandifa s brother and a lay Immam. Such a lovely man with a lovely family.
Then the drive back to the ferry. If you have been to the north bank and visited any schools or families you will know what the roads are like.  All sand and ruts so it is very jarring. Even so we all dozed off..Waited for the ferry which was very very full. We did get a seat and watched as cows, chickens and even a sheep in a bag were loaded on.
Back to the hotel at the end of the day for a quick swim and beer.

<< Home