S4K New Year’s blog post on GMT, Gambian Maybe Time.
January was a whirl of medical appointments for Ginger and her family. A minimum of 1 appointment a week between December and the end of January. Meanwhile Sol has been working very hard to keep things ticking over in Gambia. But here is the new year’s blog at last.
The half container Ginger and Sol sent, packed with kids’ stuff and educational supplies still hadn’t arrived by the end of January, having been paid for in full and sent in early November so constant emails and calls to moneypipe were a major time consuming, annoyance last month. Original sponsors may remember another shipping company “PaManneh” who went bankrupt a few years ago after messing customers around. We are sad to report that moneypipe seem to be following in similar footsteps and advise you to be extra vigilant if sending kids boxes with him. The upshot is, that 4 months later a large proportion of our items are still in limbo in an unknown container. Gawd knows where. Apart from the extra work this has caused both Sol and Ginger it will have a detrimental impact on distribution of goods over the next few months before the rainy season descends. And ultimately the people who need it the most. The poor.
Good news; we welcome Stu Welland as sponsor box coordinator for all sponsor box related enquiries. Please contact Stu if you are sending boxes for either your kids or general donations so he can let G&S know what to expect and when. And please remember G&S must take a taxi or truck if there’s plenty of boxes, to collect and again hire taxis to deliver them to your kids. Any financial support in helping your kids receive their boxes would be appreciated. A BIG Abaraka to Sarah Brown for her contribution to this.
Happily, the sponsor boxes sent separately do seem to have all arrived in one piece at the right time, with Sol and Serey working very hard to collect them and get them out and delivered to your kids. Photos are in your kid’s albums as usual. Ginger’s favourite photo is Omar with his bubble wand.
The school uniforms sent by Deb were a BIG hit with not only your kids but other kids, as Sol tried to corral the kids and distribute at their school. MoLamin sent his sponsor L, a lovely drawing and a video saying thank you for his box. More girls dresses Deb please
A big thank you to Deb for sending the general donations (again) and the vitamins (again) from Cytoplan. The first batch of vitamins have gone out to some of your kids, with Sol explaining to parents how to take them etc. More vitamin distribution at schools and villages to follow.
S4K roots was in collecting your kids good condition used clothes and donating clothes and shoes to kids in rags. We still hold this close at heart. Sol has managed to get a large chunk of donated kids clothing and much needed toothpaste samples to various families in several villages. Every time you visit your dentist, please ask if they have any boxes of samples! We need them for the kids. The villagers below were thrilled with clothes, teddy bears toothpaste and shoes.
The photos below are mainly sponsored kids some of whom do not get boxes; receiving S4K donated clothes. You may recognise some faces here
We also welcome Gem & Si to the admin support team who are now working with the amazing Amanda to ensure the photos are uploaded in the correct folders on the website in a timely (GMT ish) manner. We appreciate the new website has taken some time to get up and running with the correct kids in the correct folders etc. It is a clunky web hosting and website with limited photo storage, but it was a gift from Luscious Liz and G&S appreciate it. If there are any IT gurus in the house who could do better for “free”, please get in touch with Amanda in the first instance. Other volunteer positions include marketing and PR positions and fundraisers.
A big shout out to the solicitors who donated loads of PC’s and PC equipment which was all donated to Carter school. The kids were mayhem, all thinking they were going to get a PC! The photos are not great as Sol reports it’s a nightmare trying to corral the kids on his own as well as take good pictures. He is still Ginger’s apprentice when it comes to taking photos, but at least their heads are on! The Head Teacher (who looks harassed!) will send some photos when they have set up their IT lab now they have PC’s to put in it! This was such a super donation and will ensure your kids will have access to IT which is where the first world is heading. 1st term school reports are now beginning to trickle through. All reports will be in your kid’s folders as and when received.
Ginger was sad to miss Lynne on her annual Gambian escape, but delighted to see the photos Sol took. Sol says Abaraka -Thanks for the Coffee! Ginger has been poked and prodded, scanned, and jabbed and seen a range of experts who want to turn her into the bionic woman without the bonus of a 24” waist. And a magic whip! A big operation looms for her, not without significant risks and longer-term impacts, no easy decisions ahead. Ginger’s dad continues to have cancer treatment and it is looking like this is going to be an on-going thing. To make the most of life before setting off airport alarm systems, Ginger is heading to the sun for a few weeks R&R and to see her much missed Aninom and family before more hospital appointments beckon for Ginger and her Dad. She is under very strict Dr’s orders not to lift, bend, stretch or pretty much do anything at all. The bumpy roads are going to be a challenge, that’s for sure.
Sol has also been busy delivering medical supplies left by Liz on her trip at the end of 2017, and also a huge stash donated by Lorraine, to a hospital in Serekunda. Unfortunately, the website won’t support video clips, but the head nurse said not only were they so grateful for the supplies, but until Sol took them there, they didn’t even have any bandages! This is making a real difference to people who don’t even have the most basic of health care. And only possible due to the general container.
Sol also delivered some bikes to sponsored kids who have long walks to school in the baking sun. The rest of the bikes we collected last summer are still missing in the awol container and until Babou from moneypipe can get his ass in gear and sort it out, more kids continue to trundle in the sun when a bike would make their difficult lives more pleasant and productive.
Tina’s kids got their boxes as well as each family getting a mattress each, Tina having contributed to the general container and thus getting them to Gambia. The families were absolutely shell shocked with delight. It will certainly be a welcome relief from the hard floor where both sponsored kids and their sibling’s slept until their new bouncy mattresses arrived. Most small kids share their parents beds, bigger kids being demoted to a mat on the floor. Families live in a single room mostly and space and money for a mattress is challenging.
Along with the aforementioned missing items are 100+ kids school chairs and desks. Sol arranged for Carter school to collect what did arrive last month and with 3 kids sharing a chair and 4 to a desk, these are so needed and form the underpinning ethos of S4K. Making a real difference. Demba, our adopted son was on hand to help load it. Demba continues to impress every teacher and school he attends. Having graduated last year, he has now been elected peer counsellor akin to a prefect in the UK. Top marks follow him and despite studying in the dark every night he continues to give his all and sends his love to his baby bro D. xx
As usual in our blog posts, the last section is reserved for kids needing new sponsors. All the kids below are in desperate need of a kind loving sponsor, who is committed: not needs to be committed. If you have a genuine trusted family member or friend who wants to make a real difference and change a life, please ask them to get in touch either via the contact us button on the website or with Amanda or Sarah. In these photos they are receiving donated clothing from Sol. Who had a baby after his cap!
And finally fundraising. We need some creative passionate people who can drum up support and generate funds for a much needed 4×4. This continues to be our main aim and I know there are people among you who would be a whizz at fund raising. Any fundraising ideas please get in touch with Liz, fund raising coordinator.
And as this ends, please take a moment to say a prayer for our dear Isatou MRC who passed away one year ago next month aged just 13. R.I.P dear one. Always in our hearts
One Love S4K Fam.