14.02.16 9.45am Gatwick Airport
We have safely arrived at the airport and are excited to check in and start our journey. We have all the amazing things you have all made for our link school and we are sure they are going to love them. We will arrive in The Gambia late tonight and will write again soon.
See you soon.
Miss Harvey and Mr Ramli
We arrived late last night and were welcomed by our host families. Mr Ramli is staying with a man called Farax and his family. I am staying with a lovely woman called Yapenda and her huge family. After not a lot of sleep, we met up with our group and set off on some courtesy visits. We visited the Iman, who is a very old man and knows much about the Islamic faith. Then, we visited Nansimba (leader of women) and the Alikali (village mayor) and learnt more about the wonderful village of Gunjur, where we will be living for the next week. After a long day, we travelled for three minutes and arrived at a beautiful, untouched beach. We were treated to a performance by some amazing Gambian dancers, who told stories through movement. Now off to bed and can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Another hot and restless night, but today we enjoyed visiting the women's garden on the outskirts of the village. It was brilliant to see all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that the women of the village have been growing for their families and to sell at the market. The garden was a real hub of activity with lots of women busy gardening and fetching water from one of the many wells. After that we went to visit the TARUD offices which are supported by the charity we are travelling with and learnt about some of the business opportunities and projects in the village. We then visited some of the businesses including the internet café, clothes makers and hardware shop. They also have a hairdressers and café. After lunch, we visited the fishing village where the local people catch fish to sell at the market. Then we ventured to the Gunjur Project which is a lodge that supports local projects. Miss Harvey had the foresight to bring shampoo and had her first shower of the trip (she did let me borrow some!).
Tomorrow we are visiting our link school and are very excited to see the school and surrounding community.
Today was a very exciting day, we set off quite early so that we could spend a lot of time at our link school. We arrived at our school to the whole school stood outside, we quickly learned we were at the wrong school and got back in the car. When we finally arrived at our school Bakary Sambouya Lower Basic we were met by the head and deputy head teachers. We showed them the amazing work all of you had made for us to take and we had a lovely discussion about the similarities between our two schools. After a chat, we were taken on a tour of the school which included 5 classrooms and an amazing garden, which was growing fruit and vegetables. We were fascinated to learn that our link school splits the school day as they have too many children for their small school. Half the children go to school in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.
After spending the morning in our link school, we travelled back to Gunjur to work with some of the older children in the Upper Basic school. We had an interesting time working with groups of children on a business challenge, where the children had to think about what they would need to open a café in Gunjur. When we had finished they were given the task to go away and put together a plan for setting up their own business and will present their ideas in March. The winning groups will get some money towards their education.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
After buying a fan, I had a much better night's sleep and I was ready for the packed day ahead. We set off in our van to go and visit the Women's Oyster Project, where local women farm, harvest and sell oysters. Unfortunately, it isn't quite oyster season but we have been told we should come back tomorrow to go and see where the oysters are farmed and also the wonderful array of birds that inhabit the riverside.
After visiting the oyster project, we then had time to explore The Gambia's famous coastline. About an hour in we stopped off at Sandele, an eco lodge, to learn about the projects they run to support the local community. One of the projects included a solar (powered by the sun) boat, that was currently being built to help the women of the oyster project. We then carried on up the coast until we arrived at the fishing village we had already been to previously. During the 2 hour walk during the hottest moments of the day, I had to have a hat full of water poured over my head to cool down and Miss Harvey burnt the soles of her feet on the very very very hot sand.
Before going back to our compounds for dinner, we decided to go and buy some fabric so that we could get some African clothing made. The process of having to go and buy the fabric, then find a tailor and be measured up was something Miss Harvey and I hadn't experienced before. We hope our outfits will fit!
Tomorrow we are going back to our school to watch some of their lessons. Speak soon
We had an amazing day today, it started with a very early morning, we had to be on the bus by 6:30. After eating breakfast of an egg sandwich on the bus, we arrived at the oyster project, where we would be going on a boat tour to see the oyster and the birds in the area. With our life jackets safely on, we were rowed down river to see the oyster that form on the mangroves. We also had a nice relaxing time taking lots of photos of the local birds that were flying over the river. The river we were on, is the border between The Gambia and Senegal so for 2 seconds I was touching Senegal.
After an amazing trip on the river, we headed back to Gunjur to get a taxi to go to our school. When we arrived we were greeted as old friends by the teachers and children. The children even remembered the songs we had taught them when we were there last. After splitting up from Mr Ramli I went into a Grade 2 (year 3) class to observe a English lesson, it was great to see how such good learning was going on even though they had very limited resources. After interacting with the teachers and students we sadly had to say goodbye and head back to the village for our tea and an early night.
Another amazing day in The Gambia and tomorrow we are going to a different part of the country.