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Pippa's Gambian trip, 15-29 November 2005

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27 November - Another trip to the North bank >>

Saturday 26 November - 'Cleaning your environment' day

Today we had an enforced rest, as it had been decreed a 'Cleaning your environment' day. This means that everyone homeowner, street trader, shop-keeper, taxi-driver, school caretaker, EVERYONE must stop whatever they are doing to clean up the area surrounding their home or business. No taxis are allowed on the streets, no shops are allowed to open until 1pm... so, we sat by the pool... and even had a swim or two... so that's what most people do on a Gambian holiday...

At 2pm our taxi arrived and we went visiting sponsored children and their families we had spent part of our enforced leisure packing up all the parcels sent out to these children by their sponsors, so the taxi was well laden.

But, before the children, we had to go and sort out bikes! Four sponsors had sent money for bikes so that 'their' students could save money on bus fares by cycling to school or college. We went to a shop selling what seemed like reasonable bikes but the prices had gone up since our last visit. However, we explained to the shop-keeper that he could either sell 4 bikes at a lower price or no bikes at the higher price. After consideration, he agreed that selling 4 bikes was better! That agreed, we went on our way to see the children... (the bikes were bought successfully for the students during the week after our visit here are three of the happy recipients.)

students trying out their new bikes 1

students trying out their new bikes 2

students trying out their new bikes 3

students trying out their new bikes

So, the children - first, a little girl, Mariatou and twins Adama and Awa.

Mariatou

Adama

Awa

Mariatou

Adama

Awa

There are lots of un-sponsored children in this compound, so we took the rest of the knitted jumpers with us as gifts for them again, VERY popular. I have explained to them about buttons down the back, but they like them like this... The baby was too small for a jumper, so she had a toy instead. When we arrived, all the little girls were having their hair braided very smart. As always, the family offered us what hospitality they could cold drinks in this case and we chatted about the children and their schools.

more children wearing jumpers

Fatou

more children wearing jumpers

Fatou

another satisfied jumper wearer

baby with toy

Mariama

another satisfied jumper wearer

baby with toy

Mariama

Next, having gone along what must be one of the worst roads in The Gambia, and one does not say that lightly, we went to visit Fatou and Mariama. We had hoped to see Assan as well, but he was out visiting a friend. Another nice family...

We then went back to Kemo's compound (avoiding that awful road) where a large number of sponsored children and young adults were gathered to meet us. It was rather late when we arrived and by the time we left it was getting quite dark, so we did not spend as long as we would have liked with them. However, we managed to see and give gifts to Bintou, Fatou, Ebrima, EB, Ian Talibo, Muhammed Lamin, baby Malafie, Isatou S, Isatou J, Alpha, Sonna, Fatoumatta, Kumba J, Kemo himself and Kumba, Kemo's Mum plus a few extras whose names I don't know.

the gathering in Kemo's compound

the gathering in Kemo's compound

Then, back to the hotel? No, one more compound to visit completely dark by this time! But, no matter, we went to see Hawa, Ebrima and Musa (not sponsored yet, but hoping). Lamin wasn't there, so we left his gift with the others. Taking photos was tricky here fortunately the camera could see where I could not!

Hawa

Ebrima

Musa

Hawa

Ebrima

Musa
 not sponsored then, but he is now

Then, it really was back to the hotel just time to change for dinner at Michel's and a few Julbrews, before getting things ready for an early start tomorrow...

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