S4K Spring is Sprung
The birds are at it. The dogs are at it. Even the cows who roam the beach are at it.
It is mating time in Gambia so expect an influx of new babies, human and animal by the end of the year! Each morning G&S hear the “coco bo” bird aka the ring-necked dove making coco bo tweets from their bed. Poor Gambians don’t have glass in windows but mosquito netting, so all the noises flow in (good and bad). The weather is great, 30+ days and a cool 21 at night (unless you happen to live in a house with corrugate for a roof like 90% of the population. The metal roofs absorb heat all day and emits it all night, making houses very hot and stuffy. This is partially why Gambians sit outside their compounds at night. Despite the mosquitoes as it is considerably cooler. The other part is Gambians by culture are social and enjoy greeting people as they pass, chatting to their neighbours or the men brewing and drinking Attaya, a green tea with diabetes causing sugar in a shot glass.
Thankfully the sponsor boxes which have been sent have all arrived ok…..so far this year. 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. They do not have a vehicle to conduct the daily trips to visits kids, distribute donations or deliver sponsor boxes. While other charities may be fortunate enough to have their own or even private cars to ensure items are delivered. S4K sponsor box service is done through goodwill to benefit the kids, ensuring they continue to receive their much needed and loved sponsor boxes.
The donations that did arrive have all been distributed. Both kids and their families happy to be on the receiving end of such generosity. Shoes which Ginger retrieved out of a UK bin are now on a happy feet (waiting for a sponsor) The girls thrilled with brand new cotton school dresses, ideal for our girls in the hot weather. One mum was so thrilled with her own box she immediately donned the outfit sent for her and sent her sponsor a lovely video of thanks.
All the PC’s and IT equipment is now at the school where the majority of S4K attend. Ginger was pleased to see the Head using the donated items on a recent visit. Again, huge thanks to Paris Miller for her help.
The school is waiting (aren’t we all) for NOWEC to come and connect power to the room they have designated as the IT suite. Once it is up and running, photos will be posted on a subsequent blog. Meanwhile a visit to this school has proven just how important a good school with qualified teachers are. When S4K began we supported a local school through links with the late Head teacher. Sadly, since his untimely demise it was apparent the standards of teaching and corruption was affecting our kids progress. S4K are thrilled to report the new schools your kids attend are all staffed with experienced qualified teachers and the fees are being used in an appropriate way. Ultimately you get what you pay for. In the UK or in Gambia.
As you know 2017 was a year G&S would rather forget with illnesses and hospitals. Ginger’s dad continues with his treatment with a 3rd operation scheduled for early April. Around 18 months ago Serey was complaining of “lady trouble” and due to last year’s illnesses, it was not possible to get her seen, diagnosed and treated. Thankfully she has now been seen by Dr Firaz, the most experienced senior Gynaecologist in Gambia, had a range of tests and scans and finally had the removal of a uterine mass last month. Everyone said prayers as going to hospital in Gambia is fraught with worry. Take your usual pre-operative nerves while living in a developed country with a NHS and multiply by 100 and you’d be somewhere near the level of anxiety poor Serey and her family experienced. With no NHS to pick up the pieces for people too poor to afford treatment, the main hospital in Banjul is known as the hospital of death. Ginger paid for Serey to have the treatment privately. We are delighted to report Serey has had the histology back as benign and no infection left behind. To get Serey in the CT scanner was a mission in itself! You must remember that poor people have no experience of modern health treatment. It is like putting you in the middle of an African village with nothing and expecting you to know how to survive without technology and life skills that have sustained the people of mother Africa since time begun.
To achieve this positive outcome Serey, her son and her mum went for a “holiday” to G&S house where Gingers’ OCD for cleanliness post Leptospirosis and Sol’s great culinary skills meant they were all well fed and cared for. What this does mean is Serey is on light activities, no lifting for 6 weeks, so school visits walking in the hot sun or being squished into a giley giley are not options. Same goes for lifting boxes.
People often ask what a typical day in Gambia for G&S. It goes something like this:
Sol wakes up at dawn to pray the first of 5 daily prayers. Ginger is a sleeper and is roused with green tea at 9 ish and takes time to get ready until she can take her pain medication at 10am. Without it, she is totally immobile with crippling pain. A 20-minute walk to the road where a taxi is hailed and one of the schools visited. Kids progress checked on and discussions with teachers to see who is doing well and who needs help in one way or another. Sol prefers to eat rice both at lunchtime (which is around 3pm) and for dinner around 9pm so he will either eat in one of the kids’ families compounds or cook a big pot of “sauce” to go with his rice at Badjie Kunda. Below fish Benechin.
Ginger prefers Tapalapa- a type of doughy stick bread with sardines rather than eating nutrient deficient rice twice daily. Rice kills hunger but doesn’t provide satisfactory nutrition. On the TV channel there is currently a campaign trying to educate people about nutrition, which is a start in the right direction. After lunch at the hottest part of the day, G&S try and stay out the sun unless delivering boxes or donations in far flung villages. Home time is around 6pm when their dogs need their dinner and play time. Water comes around 3am until 7am each night so they will take it in turns to stay awake to fill the buckets to have enough water for the following day. Since her spinal problem Ginger is banned from lifting or bending so this now falls to Sol to do. Water does not flow from the tap. Light is off more often than it is on. But they are fortunate enough to use Ginger’s money to rent a “proper” style house as opposed to a line house local people live in. Those who have been fortunate enough to stay at Badjie Kunda on the RGE will tell you first-hand how hard this job in the heat without the comfort of a car. Even with a car it is hard; bumping over sandy roads and fighting flies. Dodging goats, dogs, kids, being stopped by corrupt Government officials all wanting a piece of whatever they are delivering.
One of the hazards of daily living in Africa is bugs, insects and vermin. We all know what the rat pee did to Ginger last year. Daily life involves constantly spraying the house with chemicals to be mossie free. But the termites are another story. Just 3 weeks after the general container arrived Sol went to check on some stuff and found the termites had built a mound up to the table, inside the bike wheels and growing rapidly. Termite mounds are as deep as they are tall. So, however high the visible mound, their burrow is as deep underground. Sol had to get someone in to destroy it then spray the garage to stop them coming back. Every year G&S do this and every year they destroy some of the general donations.
Another part of G&S daily routine is delivering donated medical supplies: The last of the general container’s medical supplies has been delivered to Sukuta satellite hospital, which treats locals with minor injuries, diabetes and high BP care etc. As the schools have broken up for the end of 2nd term Demba is now Sol’s apprentice and learning the ropes of how to deliver, talk to professionals and promote the charity. Who knows, after he completes his education he could start his own charity or if sponsored be a full-time member of staff!
When G&S have a weekend free they try when possible to have the orphans Fatou & Modou stay. This time Demba came along with lil Fattie, Sonar, Dawda and Abli J. All had a wonderful time learning to swim, playing sand castles and Fatou, Modou & Demba all had a horse ride, Demba surprising everyone by being able to ride, a secret he’d kept all this time! Steph was chief sand castle judge and needs to learn that going out in the midday African sun without Factor 50+ is for mad dogs and Englishmen Beach day photos below.
2nd term school reports are now beginning to trickle through. All reports will be in your kid’s folders as and when received.
Favourite people. One Love.
Tom & Leah sent us a Printer and some school stuff which went to their little girl’s school with the last of the books and cupboards from last years collection. Abaraka
Above, sponsored kids with S4K donations.
Tom & Leah also sent some general donations (Below) which went to a highly intelligent girl, who is currently sick in hospital. Photos were taken a while ago before she became ill. And Isa who is waiting for a sponsor for school.
Below the last of 2018 Cytoplan multi vitamins gone to Alagie’s school kids.
“These are not minties! “ (Sweets to you)
Christmas cracker balloon fun above (Boys all needing sponsors for school) and MaSerey’s super fun box with masks: A Witches covern in the making 😉
Our girls looking fresh in new donated dresses below. And dear disabled Mohammed with donated pushchair and baby formula as he can’t chew.
Above: Our lavish Gambian life of luxury:
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 www.skoolz4kids.co.uk or with Amanda or Sarah. In these photos they are receiving donated clothing from Sol.
And finally, school fees. As usual all fees MUST be received in full BEFORE 1st June. Please get in touch with admin with any questions on how to make payment.
One Love S4K Fam.
Monkey see, monkey do. People tend to do like others without thinking.