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Team size: 18 Secondary school students, two school staff and one member of ARC staff

Projects completed at Mandinari Lower Basic School:
• 200m of water pipe and 5 water taps with surrounds taking over from the old handpump!
• 30 new school desks made (enough for 60 children)


Day 1 - Arrival in Gambia

WE landed at banjul airport at about 2.30 in the afternoon and we were greeted by Mr Jobe and Musa. Then in the car park we were greeted by children from both schools, and then after the bags were put on top of the bus the children sang and danced for us. We were pulled in to joining in, but it was a brilliant welcome.

We were surprised and a little overwhelmed at how big and fantastic the welcome party at Mandinari Lower basic was. There was all of the children waiting as well as the women's club who were very eager to sing and dance all the time. The headmistress gave us a welcome speech. One of the senior teachers introduced us to the staff and the scouts started doing tricks. One of the them was a circular pyramid with 3 layers and the top layer was a boy standing up giving a scouts salute. It was very impressive and we enjoyed it a lot.
Becca couldn't take enough photos. Our faces started hurting from all of the smiling. The womens club then started dancing and singing, and dragged us up to dance. Kamen has no problems fitting in with the locals dancing style. A block of classrooms was cleared out for us and so we had two rooms. We put our rucksacks down, the girls in one room and the boys and kit in the other.

We then went on a tour of the school. We saw the kitchens, dinner smelt really good - we had Domoda, a Mandinka tribe  dish. Then we went to see the pumps, the gardens and the toilets - best not go there! In short there were bats living below. Then we set up our mosquito nets which were a fiddle and we needed a bit of help. Then we talked and socialised outside with the children and played a few games. Becca taught them how to play hand clapping games, then we had dinner and washed up. The scouts stay at the school during the night and Jeremy told us about the last trip where he had confiscated the drum and we didn't want that to happen.We got to sleep in the pitch black as there is no light polution, but we slept under the nets because no one really wanted to get attached by bugs. The scouts were fairly quiet but I think they may have got the drum out once.


Day 2

Hello everybody
We got woken up 7 am and got breakfast at 8 am which consisted of bananas and bread. We went for a walk around the village and taught the little children how to play British bulldog and duck-duck goose, which actually turned out to be very entertaining, getting beaten at our own games :S ... We relaxed and slept the whole morning catching up on beauty sleep. After lunch our tools arrived and began our afternoon’s work which was digging trenches, finding rocks and filling buckets of water, preparing us to insert the taps. After our long afternoon of work, we sat down for dinner which was rice and fish that had been killed by some of our team earlier in the day. It actually tasted surprisingly well! Dark soon came around, and we played with the children around a campfire, singing and dancing. The sky was very clear and we could see the stars, which were beautiful. At roughly 10pm, we went to bed and went to sleep.

By Emily and Kirsty


Day 3

Hey, it’s Sophie, Georgina and Chloe! Firstly, hello to all the people reading this blog. We’d like to say hello to Julie ‘hun’;) and Tony, Clare and Oscar and Liz and Barrie, missing you a lot.
Yesterday we woke up at 7 o’clock, and munched on banana sandwiches. Nom nomm.We then went to the toilet and saw a cockroach!!! Scaryyy. The toilet must be the hardest part on this expedition. We started off working by digging.. what seemed to go on for miles, the heat was unbelievably hot, especially when we were working really hard. We did this while the lazy lot built desks in the shade. Lunch came… HURRAY! We built up quite an appetite during our work. Yum yumm,… nom nom … was egg mayonnaise sandwiches. We ate all the filling so the teachers didn’t have any LOL. They had to make some more. Brb going to drink my ‘purified water’ ……. Mmmmm chlorine :/. After lunch the Charlie the plumber came to finish the piping and so we started doing the desks because we decided to become the lazy lot.. well for 10 mins ‘till a teacher got us to refill the pipe ditch. Wow never worked so hard in our lives!! The heat made us soo exhausted. The toilet trip again ,… LMAO. We finished early at 5 o’clock. For a well deserved rest. Well for us.. the hard workers anyway wink Georgina fell ill before tea and had the same medicine as Chloe Ramsden and Cloe wellock when they become dehydrated. Tea was sooo scrumptious. We had chicken, rice and potatoes were was soo yummy! Nom nomm.! After the tea, Georgina and Sophie went to bed because Georgina was ill, and they both was tired, while the rest of us made friends  Was a good day


Day 4

Hey its Chloe  Today me and Emma were running with the scouts in the morning for 20 mins!! Shocking!! The weather were quite cool this morning but me and Emma was unbelievably hot! Was a fun run though singing and clapping around a part of the village. For breakfast we had banana sandwiches again which was yet again yummy!! You can never get sick of them raspberry. After that we built desks for an hour or so, then Jeremy took us all to have a cement lesson on how to make cement without a mixer .. so much effort! Haaa. We had to collect rubble in the boiling sun and place it around the taps and flatten out the cement around it, and leave it to dry. Then we had lunch …. Yet again it was beautiful raspberry we had salad mayonnaise sandwiches. The bread is just so yummy here raspberry. After that we sanded down wood for an hour. Then we decided to wait for Mr. Ralls with a power saw … he took agers!;) so me and Amy played football with a few little children but soon got tired and sweaty .. eugh :’) Finally Mr. Ralls arrived and this is were I am now 

To be continued.....


Day 5 & 6

We are all happy that ourselves stay in Mandinari got extended by one day, however because of the party last night we are all pretty tired. We have finished all of the work, all of the taps are cemented and the new desks are in the classrooms.We have packed all of our stuff and cleared up our rooms ready to depart tomorrow.

We are currently celebrating Kirsty's birthday and watching Madagascar the movie on the wall of the school.

We had a lovely dinner and birthday cake and now are looking forward to finishing the movie.

We shall write a longer blog tomorrow and try to upload some more photos.



Day 7

Hey cloe and amy sat here listening to the a teamof the year 10's luxury speakers!

Yesterday was amazing!!! We woke up at Mandinari and spent forever trying to pack away  kit that seemed never ending. The sweeping of the rooms was very interesting with the gambia  brushes as none of us could do it !! After all that we then had to say goodbye to everyone which was really hard as some of us got really attached (especially to babies!) everyone had tears in their eyes leaving even nick ! when we arrived at bakau there was an even bigger haud of screaming children awaiting our arrival! we quickly set up camp in a room with electricity ! and no sand!! we then realised how lucky the year 10's had been all week unlike us toughest year 11's who were in a room lit bye candle with sand which basically covered the floor!! we then set of to the crocodile park (katchikally), to get there we had to walk through a lot of the housing (the slums) of bakau town with yet more children!  The slums were not what you would find in engand to say the least with open sewers everywhere! when we finally got to the crocodile park there were crocs openlly sat there around the swamp and a few almost stepped on them! After having the dreaded experience of being freaked out by a croc we headed back for  a salad sandwich and then got told a massive surprise by mr ralls! we got to go to a hotel to use their pool and beach and had a 3 course meal which wasnt rice!! we all rushed of to get changed in to biknis and shorts and soon we were off! the hotel was quite far so we went through a tourist market on the way where we all bought millions of braclets (especially amy!) we had such fun laying by the pool and chillin in the sand, best end to the greatest week!

love cloe and amy xxx