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Gambia

Team size: 17 Middle school students and two staff

Projects completed:

Big Brother, Big Sister project

 

 

Day 1- Travels and Discoveries

It is 20.18. I'm sat with Mr Ralls, James and Dan. Everybody is out looking at the stars, which are ridiculosly clear in the sky. I can hear the crickets and the worshiping in the nearby mosques.

We woke up at 3am this morning. After getting the bus at five past four we arrived at our terminal. The plane took off with a group of excited, 'Team Gambian's'. It was Lizzize's first flight and she did really well.

We arrived at the school, greeted by groups of children, singing, high fiving and dancing. After the warm welcomes we set up our beds then went out to play with the children.

We've just had dinner: rice and fish and are having an early night as tomorrow we are off to tour round the town.

The weather is absolutely boiling! The temperature drops at night, so now it feels like an english summer! During the day it is soooooo hot!

Being here really makes you realise just  how lucky we are to have things such as clean water and the security of our homes, it really is quite humbling.

Lolly


Day 2- Touring round the Local Area, Bakau.

With an early rise from our sleeping bags and reappearing from our mosquito nets, we were sent out for breakfast. It was a very wide selection of croissants, including chocolate, custard and coconut. After this we put on our Bakau School uniform an headed down to assembly with Grade 6 students. Here, we had a very warm welcome from the headmaster and the other students knew our English National Anthem way better than us! We got on the buses and headed to a nearby town called Kartong. This is where there is a crocodile pool which if you bath in, it is thought to help you and give you good luck.

We then went to a cultural park called Makasutu. Here we stopped for a refreshing drink and went to see a 96 year old man who 'guides the spirit of the forest'. He could also predict your future by palm reading. Then we saw the baboons but they ran away so we didn't get very close.

Then we went Senegambia, this is where we had lunch, which was a local dish called Schwarma (chicken or beef).

After we had something to eat, we went to 'monkey park'. The monkeys (Ellie) came close enough for us to feed them peanuts out of our hands, apart from Meryem who was determined for the monkeys to eat the nuts off her back. We took lots of pictures.

On the way back to school, we stopped off at the fruit market where we all bought fresh apples, oranges, bananas and two water melons for dinner.

We soon arrived back at the school where half of us went shopping for tea and toilet roll, whilst the others stayed and played with the kids.

Before we had tea, we all danced and QE showed Bakau School our gym and dance footloose dance.

For tea we had Yassa, which was chicken in a creamy yogurt sauce served with rice and vegetables.

We are sat writing this in the pitch black as we've had a local power cut...yay!

Team Gambia 11' say we are all missing you lots, keep leaving messages on our wall smile

Ellie, Amy and Jess


Day 3 - Lessons and project day!

Today we woke up at 7:00 to eat breakfast which consisted of "gambian" crossiants and tea !

Soon after we got changed into our Bakau school uniforms ready for are morning at their school. It started with assembly which invloved hundreds of children gathering roung a tiny platform on which we stood. Nervous. we watched and listened as they sang us local songs which we have learnt to love, to our embarassment we had to sing our version of what could be called a song "daffodil song" but they seemed to like it anyway !

After assembly we split up into 3 groups and went to our first lessons , English ,Maths ,Science even though they are our own age they were at a much lower level to us in english and sceince but in maths we really stuggled to keep up with complicated sums !

School finished soon and we quickly headed back to our rooms to change into our clothes for work (painting buildings) But first we had lunch, eggs or tuna sandwiches ! Which where lovely ! Well done to the chef (LIzzie Clarke)

Then we set to work designing and painting murals on the building that the sixth formers help renovate we once again split into groups working on each part of the building , Sophie , Lolly and I worked around the logo painting trees with masses of vines spread out amongst the wall and the other groups did a jungle scene and hand prints. We had fun painting the walls and ourselves....bad idea we ended up not being able to take take the paint off, so our new friends from Bakau washed it of for us! (better then we ever could) It was amazing how much they cared about us being clean. Evening came and all where getting tired allowing Sophie to stand on the eggs for breakfast next day ! We then had a lovely dinner of Domoda cooked by Jenabla (Mr Jobe's wife).

Now we're all playing outside before heading off to bed.

Hope to hear from you all soon.

Sophie and Jess


Day 4 - Project work, crocodiles and water shortage!

Today no one could wake up as there was a power cut which had lasted all night and came back on for a few hours during the day and went off again tonight. Breakfast was our usual croissant selection and tea grin

Today we finished painting the murals, which turned out to look fantastic (see photos). After lunch we went in to the centre of the village - where we walking aside sewage and on dead fish heads.

We went to the Kachkally Crocodile pond where the museum was very interesting, and then we stroked crocodiles and saw lots of baby ones. When we got back to school there was no water, so we haven't washed our greasy hair :-( So now we're all getting up at 6am tomorrow to wash our hair as the water has just turned back on.

We spent the hour before dinner out on the road selling cabages at 5 Dalasi each and made 503 Dalasi!! No driver managed to get past us without purchasing a cabbage in aid of the school.

We have spent the evening sitting around and singing Gambian songs in the dark (refer to point above!), and are having an early night ready for our very busy day when we head inland tomorrow.

We love receiving your messages and we just hope we have internet tomorrow so that we can write our blog.

Iona and Becca


Day 5&6 - Inland Gambia

We set off on Friday morning after waiting for our buses which were 2hrs late! Along with our Gambian pals we set off for inland Gambia. We had to catch the ferry and having gone via Musa's village made our way to St James Island. When we arrived we had to catch a small unstable boat out to the island (don't worry the boat had life jackets!). The island was where the slaves were brought before being shipped out around the world.

On the way back we took a very long dusty sandy road - we all look like we've been faked tanned! Meryem broke a chair in her excitment of going over bumps! Constant singing we finally arrived in Georgetown. Before we got on the ferry Mr Ralls picked up a very small puppy and decided to show everyone - to his surprise they wanted to adopt it for the night. The world's shortest ferry journey got us to the island where we were greated by the circumscision monster (will explain when we get home), had a lovely meal of Benachin followed by singing and dancing and then to bed.

The next day we were greated by a newscrew who were fascinated by our trip. After a few interviews (make sure you catch the Gambian 6 o'clock news!) they joined us on an opentop boat to search for hippos - sadly we didn't find any hippos but a few of the girls managed to start their tans along with a water fight! We lost a mattress overboard - which was duly retrieved.

We said goodbye to Scraps (puppy) and made our way to the Presidents zoo, having lunch en-route at a random ladies house (Gambians are all soooo welcoming), and Miss Holt tried to steal yet another baby!

We got to the zoo, and saw Camels, Crocs, Hyenas and Snakes - and got to stroke them all! It was a very different zoo to an English one.

After the zoo we dropped Jeremy (from the charity) off at the airport and made our way back to the school. Mosi net's up (with no power again!!!) , dinner eaten and to sleep - we were all shattered.As usual just as we wee falling asleep the lights came back on - typical!


Day 7 - The announcement

After waking up for another yummy breakfast, all of us decided to do our washing! There was loads! We had an interesting meeting talking about how we have enjoyed Gambia so much, and discussing parts we didn’t like and what we would have like to do more of.
We went to the main tourist craft market where we bought gifts for family, friends and our buddies. At the market there were many bracelets, necklaces, wooden objects and much more. We all had fun looking around and then making sure we got the best prices by bartering.
We arrived back at the school with all our bags of presents. After we all finished packing, we got ready to say our goodbyes.
Teary eyed, we clambered onto the bus and drove off, on our way to the hotel. Fifteen minutes later, we were all getting back off the bus this time at the hotel. As soon as our room keys were given, we all ran to our rooms and then to the pool.
We are now either in the pool, on the beach, sunbathing or…writing this ☺

Tomorrow, the kids, Musa, Mr Jobe and the crazy driver are coming to pick us up to take us to the airport. There will probably be more tears, but then it will only be 2 days until we see you all!

Lots of love to you all, see you soon ☺

Ellie, Meryem and Jess