Monday 28 November - Our last day
– must make the most of it...
Sandra decided, rather
belatedly, that she would behave a bit more like a tourist and sit
by the pool for a bit and go to the market to finish her shopping.
So, Pippa & Kemo set off on
their own for the last few visits this trip – first stop, the GTTI
(Gambia Technical Training Institute) annexe in Banjul, where we
have a newly sponsored student who is doing a Foundation course
before starting on his Plumbing certificate next year. I had not
visited this annexe before and it was most impressive – clean, tidy
and all the students busy and absorbed in their work. We met Lamin,
gave him his Pageant pencil case and made sure that he knew how to contact Kemo if and
when the need arises.
Next, to the garden tool
centre, to arrange discounted prices for all the garden tools we
were going to buy with the Harvest Festival donations – the lists of
tools were beginning to come in now from the various gardens to whom
we had taken seeds. (Brian and Ann were kind enough to go the
following Wednesday to get some of the tools on our behalf and Kemo has bought
most of the rest since our visit.)
Then, the main GTTI campus, to visit another recently sponsored
student, who is studying for the AAT Certificate and is in his
second year of his accountancy course. Abdoulie struggled to pay his first
year fees and could not afford to pay any UK exam fees – now, thanks
to his sponsors, he can complete the three-year course and take all
the exams needed to gain his full AAT qualification.
Ann and Kemo buying
plumbing student Lamin
Now to visit Ndey, a waitress
at one of the tourist hotels, on behalf of Elizabeth, one of our
members. Elizabeth had met Ndey while on holiday in The Gambia and
had decided she would like to sponsor Ndey's daughter to go to
school, but had not met the child. She wished to make sure that the
little girl would really benefit from the sponsorship and that the
necessary arrangements could be made to transfer the money to Ndey
for her daughter at appropriate times. Kemo and Pippa found Ndey at
the hotel and spent a little time with her, explaining about the
sponsorship and how it would work. As one might imagine, Ndey was
delighted with our visit and with Elizabeth's generosity and she and
Kemo arranged how they would contact each other when the need arose.
Last of all, back to Gambia
SSS to visit a sponsored student and take him some extra bus fare
money on behalf of his sponsor. Salifu was taking a maths test when
we arrived, so we left a message for him to call at our hotel, which
is only a few minutes' walk from the school. When he arrived to
collect his envelope we were slightly alarmed to find he had a large
dressing along the lower part of his face
. However, he assured us he was quite OK, it was just a
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So, our last day was nearly
over – just a short time left to sit by the pool and try to catch up
on my tan (much too late to worry about that now, of course!).
Sandra had done her shopping in the market and had managed to 'chill
out' a bit as well. What else was there?
Of course, our last meal with
'the lads'. We arranged to meet up at Michel's for supper – Sandra,
Brian, Ann and Pippa from UK plus the Gambians - Kemo, Wandifa,
Lamin, Momodou and Alimatou.
Alimatou is a dear friend,
who we had not managed to see earlier on in our trip, so we were
particularly pleased she could come to supper that night. We had an
excellent evening – Wandifa was in particularly good form – and
agreed it had been a pretty good (and full!) two weeks. Several
toasts were drunk, in soft drinks (Gambians) and Julbrew (Brits),
with a particularly hearty one for 'the Pageant team'.
the last meal
Pippa and the
And so, back to the hotel...tomorrow's packing would not be nearly
as much fun as usual...
Tuesday 29 November - Leaving
Breakfast was one of those 'surely you
can't be leaving already' sort of meals... tipped the kitchen staff
and my special omelette maker, had the last fresh pineapple ... went
back and packed up our room, tipped the room girls. We certainly had
a lot more space in our cases now – in fact we packed cases inside
Now, time for a little sit in the sun and
a quick swim or two (tipped the pool boys)... then Kemo was due to
arrive to see us off, better get changed into 'going to the airport'
clothes. He arrived with EB and we sorted out
the last bits and pieces. Just before the coach was due, Bakary
Gitteh arrived – what a surprise and how kind of him to come all
And then, the coach arrived – we must go, hugs all round, no tears
EB, I'll be back soon....
EB, aged 10, Pippa's
youngest sponsored lad >>