PAGEANT - "Education is the future"

Pippa's Gambian trip, 15-29 November 2005

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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 gardening tools 1

Ann and Kemo buying gardening tools 2

Ann and Kemo buying gardening tools

plumbing student Lamin

accountancy student Abdoulie

plumbing student Lamin

accountancy student Abdoulie

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 football injury!

Salifu >>

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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 Pageant team

the last meal

Pippa and the Pageant team

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 other cases!

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 that way.
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 >>

EB, aged 10, Pippa's youngest sponsored lad

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