09 February 2017


Pippa's First Post

Pippa reports that accessing the internet in The Gambia is worse than usual, mainly due to frequent power cuts. However, she has emailed me her news for the first three days - and here it is:

Monday 6 February - Arrived

My trip started badly.... My alarm did not go off, so I woke up two minutes before the taxi was due to return!  Then, my favourite breakfast restaurant at Gatwick was closed for renovation (Andrew and Kathy beware...) and finally my seat on the plane was not as booked, so I was nowhere near Miriam and Richard.  Having got those three mini disasters over, the fates relented and we had a very good flight, arriving early, to find our lovely Gambian team waiting for us as planned.
All was well at the hotel and we booked in, unpacked, had an early supper and crashed out for the night.

Tuesday 7 February - Banjul Day

We visited Unity Nursery and took some photos of the work they have done on their latest project  -  all looked good so we gave them the second half of the allocated money.  I am sure we will see the results of this before we leave.
Then, on to several Banjul schools to leave letter forms with sponsored students. These are the pages, one specially prepared for each student, that are received by sponsors in due course.
We managed to meet up with one of Miriam's students, about whom she had been particularly concerned.  He did very well at Grade 12, but then seemed to have become rather depressed..... however, he has now got himself back on track and has decided he would like to read Agricultural Science and Biology at university, so Miriam was delighted.
We then went to Albert Market to buy some of the ethical gifts for which we received money over the Christmas period.  Abdoulie and Yankuba negotiated a very good deal for some schoolbags and checked prices of mosquito nets while Wandifa and I went to see the cooking pot man (not there as he had gone to the hospital to see about an injured hand) and did a lot of haggling over some small wooden animals to bring home to sell at our various sales events.
Then, a rather late lunch at Timeless, and then back to the hotel via the Westfield supermarket to buy water, geometry sets and dictionaries!
We had a delicious supper at Luigi's with Linda and then walked back to the hotel under the stars.... but with a torch!!!

Wednesday 8 February - Brikama Day

Miriam and Richard decided to stay in and around the hotel, so I set off with the team for Brikama.  The primary objective was to check out the arrangements for the Microscopy workshops that we plan to do towards the end of our stay.  We saw Nakulang, head of Science, his deputy, the catering manager and finally James, who looks after all the lab equipment.  All the arrangements went well, although I have not yet received the estimate for the catering, so might need to do a bit more haggling!!  We delivered one large inverted microscope to James for use in the University and collected all the boxes of equipment that he had kindly stored for us since our last visit.  My room at the hotel now has its normal cardboard box wall!!
We also visited a large number of schools and families to deliver letter forms - the policy of getting the students to write their letters before they get their second sponsorship payment seems to be working well, as several of the forms delivered on Tuesday have already been completed and arrangements were made for them to get their money on Wednesday evening.

Note from Dave - It looks like posts to this blog might all be via emails to me, and there may not be any photos for a while. But we will do our best to bring you all the news whichever way it happens.

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