16 November 2017
Day 9: Mostly visiting schools
David and Carol were feeling a little delicate this morning after a disturbed night, and they decided to stay at the hotel, so Pippa Regina and I set off with Abdoulie, Wandifa and Yankuba.
Our first port of call was to see Buba, a taxi driver at a nearby hotel. The reports for all his children were outstanding. He explained that all of his children had now left school.
On then to Kotukala LBS and Nursery to see Ebrima Cham who is the school’s administrator. We have carried out projects there over the last year or two having been introduced to them by Gambian Education Trust (GET) a UK charity that worked closely with that school and closed down in 2015 leaving its surplus funds to Pageant. Just before leaving the UK, Pippa had received an email from Ebrima stating that some people at the schoolhad become ill and the school had been told that it was probably because the school’s toilets were too close to the well and waste from the toilets was contaminating the well’s water. The school is connected to mains water which is used for drinking, but that supply is currently erratic (possibly due to the frequent power cuts affecting the pumping station)
It has been recommended that the school sinks a new borehole and with the aid of a pump connected to mains electricity, water can go to the school’s large storage tank which currently stores the well’s water. This water would be used for all purposes other than drinking. Ebrima has already obtained a rough estimate of the cost and we asked him to supply us with a detailed one.
On then to Javouhey Nursery School which is on the site of St Therese’s LBS. We talked to the Principal there and gave a newly sponsored child her Pageant Welcome pencil case.
Nest door then to St Therese’s UBS to see two of our sponsored children. There are over 2,400 children at that school spread over grades 7, 8 and 9. Grade 9 and half of grade 8 attend in the morning and the other half of Grade 8 and Grade 7 attend in the afternoon. We talked for some time to the Principal who said that this school was one of the top three schools in The Gambia for results. Ancha (see yesterday’s blog), our prize winner and top-performing student in the Grade 9 exams had attended there until moving on this year to Nusrat SSS. We will return there later in our visit in the afternoon to see a student in Grade 7.
Next on the agenda was a bit of shopping. Pageant runs an ethical gifts programme and we had some money for this to spend on garden tools. Yankuba and Abdoulie went into the shop to negotiate and buy (they would get a better price) and returned with three spades and four cutlasses (we would probably call them machetes). They are fine sturdy tools which will be put to good use.
Our final call of the day was to a mission in Wallingara. We were trying to find a young man whom we had lost track of. The mission’s leader said that the young man had left school, packed up his belongings and left without a forwarding address. We don’t think there is much else we can do here.
Back to the hotel and tomorrow we will pay our second visit to Gambia College and take some microscopes for storage there. We will visit a few school and on the way back call in at the airport to collect the Christ’s Hospital students who will be arriving.