25 February 2020


Saturday 22nd February - Visits to Families

A full day of filling in some of our gaps, so up and down the very bumpy side roads to visit a lot of families... mostly those where children had not been present to have their photos taken on previous visits. Some students seem to be particularly elusive, whether by accident or design I am never quite sure.

As we went round the various townships it was obvious that the Banjul marathon, to be held the following day (Sunday), was engendering considerable excitement and enthusiasm. It is only the second time that this event has been run - the first one was last year - and a large number of regular marathon runners from many countries had entered (three Americans were staying at our hotel). There were several other events taking place at the same time...a half marathon, a 5Km run for juniors and a 4Km walk. We met one of our sponsored students who had entered the 5Km run and was very excited about the whole thing.

When we got back to the hotel I found that Max, the hotel owner, had offered to provide a pasta supper for the Gambian marathon runners. The bantaba had been filled with rather more tables and chairs than usual and vast vats of pasta - a spaghetti Bolognese and a chicken and vegetable dish - were on offer, served with bread and salad. Hotel guests were invited to join in and, having decided to eat in the hotel that night anyway, I accepted the offer.

Very tasty food and a great atmosphere... although some of the participants did not quite understand about the food side of things and went home with their (china) plates!

At the end of the evening I was surprised to see one of the organisers coming across the floor towards me, saying "Pippa, how good to see you"...after a few moments I realised it was Mr Jawla, the very good sports teacher from Bakalarr, who has now risen to the lofty height of Deputy Director of the National Sports Council. It was so good to see him after a gap of about fourteen years...the ability of Gambians to recognise people never ceases to amaze me.

posted by Dave for Pippa

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