07 February 2019
Thursday 7 February
Thursday 7 February
Tuesday 5 February
Alan was due to arrive in the afternoon... We started the day by dropping off Kathy at the hospital to stay with Pippa.
We only had a relatively short time as we were due at the airport at 2.30, so we decided to concentrate on making sponsorship payments as we can do quite a few in a relatively short time by concentrating on a particular area. We did so and then went to Kings Kid Academy to check some details of a student on behalf of a potential sponsor. On the way there we met Bishop Dennis, the owner of the Academy. We told him about Pippa’s accident and he was very upset and would go and visit her immediately, (which he did).
After checking the details we made a couple of payments at Yundum barracks and returned to the hospital to pick up Kathy. After a chat, off we went to the airport and successfully met Alan. For those acquainted with the airport, this is harder than usual as there are substantial renovation works there and only actual travellers are allowed into the terminal building, so we had to wait outside until Alan emerged.
We then returned to the hotel
Wednesday 6 February
We had arranged for Kathy to be picked up by our taxi driver friend Jerreh after breakfast, but for the rest of us it was a 6.00am start for the drive to upcountry school.
We made very good time. It was dark when we started and we could see the sun rise over the mangrove swamps as we drove up. We got to Soma, the main town in the area located on the Trans Gambia Highway that links the two parts of Senegal. A stop there for breakfast, a delicious freshly cooked cheese and onion omelette in a baguette.
On then to Misera BCS, where we met Mr Badjie the principal. The Technical building was completed and some tools for woodwork, metalwork and home science had been provided by a generous donation from Battle Rotarians. We were there to see if there were any further essential tools they needed. They will put together a list, but said the most pressing need was for some sturdy metal benches to secure tools and work on. They will provide an estimate for this and also for supplying electricity to the building. They would also like to construct more student toilets and a staff room and will provide estimates for these. We then had a look at the school garden which is the best school garden I have seen in the Gambia. It is now securely fenced off which was paid for by an NGO. That agency has said it will sink a borehole in the garden and provide taps so watering will be much easier than last year!
Following that we went to Wontu’s compound. Wontu is Wandifas’s sister. We made a few sponsorship payments and chatted while Wandifa ate some porridge! A short visit to Mariama’s (Wandifa’s wife) home compound to make a sponsorship payment and then to Pakalinding school.
We looked at the wheelchair access walkway constructed with Pageant funds. It looked very well made and just needed some ramps at the ends to join to the classroom verandas. We agreed to fund this. The school would like to extend the access way to the further ends of the classrooms and we discussed options.
We had a short detour to look at the new Senegambia Bridge crossing the river. This is now open to cars but the necessary access route for trucks has yet to be finished. This bridge will transform the area as currently trucks and cars have to use a ferry which only takes two or three Lorries at a time, meaning some trucks have to wait two days to cross.
We visited the maternity ward at Soma hospital to give out some knitted baby clothes made by Pageant members. The hospital is always very grateful to receive these.
We returned via the hospital to see Pippa and pick up Kathy. Pippa is slightly more mobile now, especially in her knee but is still in pain. She is looking forward to returning to the UK for treatment.
I will post a few photos later