Gamblog Winter 2019

Skoolz4kids.org Gamblog Winter 2019

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Where DID 2018 go? NYE this year was spent in dank dreary Blighty with the warmth of loved ones to brighten the days, because there was not any sun or warmth; outside of the tropical conditions of Grandad’s house this year. Sol, Ginger and all of us at S4K wish all our sponsors a healthy, happy year filled with good times and one love.

1st term came and went with school reports beginning to trickle through. Most of our kids don’t get their reports until they return to school for 2nd term mid-January. Of those we have seen, our little stars are getting impressive grades and taking the top positions in their respective classes. Special shout out to Saidou and MoLamin J who both had fantastic reports and Abaraka to their sponsors for making this a reality. An extra special well done to Mohammed B. Mohammed has had the same remarkable sponsor since we were linked with the late Mr Touray’s school. Mohammed was at the bottom of the class every year and we thought he had learning difficulties. However, a change in school in 2017 has proven just how much a difference having qualified good teachers can have on students. He took 10th position in a class of over 45 kids after years of being bottom of a class of 55 kids. This is exactly what a difference you are making to these kids’ futures and demonstrates you get what you pay for, even in Gambia.

Outstanding report for Mohammed:

Life being unkind to Sol and Ginger last year got in the way of more frequent blog posts in 2018, so this post is going to include end of 3rd term 2018 news; including School in a Bag (SIAB) summer term delivery to Carter school. Most of our kids were present that day; so, they were lucky enough to receive a jam-packed school bag filled with 6 exercise books pencils and other essential school supplies. See if you can spot your sponsored 

Please remember for every smile you see, there is one waiting to be put on the face on one of our kids who are waiting in the wings to join their siblings and friends. They also need your help to grab their chance of the opportunity of school. So please share this news-letter with your family and loved ones. https://skoolz4kids.org.uk/sponsor-a-child/

2018 SIAB recipients with Solar Buddies (essential in deepest DARKEST Africa):

Below: Lamin & Sulayman both need sponsors for school:

Lamin lost his sponsor last year. Aged 13 he has one sister who is sponsored for school and having to leave was too hard to bear, so a relative helped Ginger fund him for the 2018/2019 academic year. But he needs a permanent sponsor. Can you help Lamin?

Sulayman is 9 and also has one sponsored sister. He is incredibly hardworking and had fabulous school reports. He needs a committed permanent sponsor to help him complete his education. Please get in touch if you can help Sulayman achieve his dreams.

S4K have worked closely with SIAB since our roots as Klothes4Kids before educational support became our primary objective and focus. Later in this news-letter is some exciting news to report………..

Previous guest on The Real Gambia Experience; Liz, has been back to see her sponsored girl again. The adage, “Africa gets in your blood” remains true. Here some little kids were thankful to receive some of the items Liz brought with her to hand out (in a non-Gambian controlled way!) Toothbrushes/paste and pencils are always needed:

 

S4K can organise a REAL Gambia experience for guests. Previous guests have stayed with S&G and spent time experiencing life as an African. Because of family health problems over the last 2 years this programme has been suspended. But with operations being completed, and spine’s being straightened we hope to be able to start this back up after this summer. Following newsletters will provide further information.

Ginger and Sol were forced to move to a new house just prior to Christmas (and the DRONE saga at Gatwick which they also were affected by). Moving house in Gambia is not anything like you have ever dreamt of; or experienced. Every night after visiting kids and schools, Sol loaded his wheelbarrow with household and personal items and pushed it from the old house to the new house on sandy tracks. In the clammy heat. A kind relative helped with the hire of a truck to take the items too large to squeeze in Sol’s wheelbarrow. It is certainly not Pickfords Removals.

The other difference between renting a house in Gambia and the UK, is the tenants have to repair, decorate and tidy up the house before they move in. This includes exterminating all the mice, cockroaches and mosquitoes (and a giant stick insect that tried to nest in Demba’s hair).

Nesting insects included in the rent:

But it was worth it, as G&S report the new house has room for guests and water that comes out the tap (be warned if you’re thinking of visiting the water is cold and expect sunbathing lizards on the windows and Australian door handles).

Sun trap for the cold blooded:

S4K Sponsors Dawn and Matt sent some general donation boxes along with their sponsored kid’s boxes. The smiles are the only thanks the kids can give. But S4K wanted to thank them for taking the thought, kindness, time and money to send Gambian kids some much needed shoes and clothes.

Donated kid’s clothes & shoes:

You know when donated clothes are appreciated when you see them on the washing line later…Washing day:

Anyone can send general donations as well as boxes for their sponsored kids throughout the year. Please visit our page here for more information: https://skoolz4kids.org.uk/box-contents/

Sol continues going school to school, checking on your kids and delivering collected items like these old office chairs which now have a new home on some of your kids’ derrières

S4K kids with donated school chairs:

As usual getting items from UK to Gambia involves a lot of time, effort, money and hired help, which we are always grateful of. We continue to look for financial support to keep this going. Not everyone can lift a 30kg box on their head!

Making it look easy Gambian style:

The 4 sisters who all had amazing new sponsors last summer are all doing amazing in school and were beyond happy, excited, grateful and any other adjective you can think of to receive boxes from their sponsors. Same for Ney and Fatou K. Although Ginger was unimpressed that wild Senegalese parrots were being kept in a tiny box in their compound.

Ney & Jatta sisters with their 1st boxes:

Fatou and the poor birds

Education is not just an academic process but when Ginger visits families she spends a lot of time educating our kids and families about health, social and environmental awareness. Including keeping wild birds in tiny cages!

The smile on Jomma’s face with her first ever (massive) box is reflective of how much it means to hear from their sponsors. The kids are always asking Ginger about their sponsors and when are they coming to visit! Some even tell Ginger they are going to see their sponsor in the UK! Smiles all around; thank you Amanda

And Abaraka Phil who sent Seray her first box, seen here sharing happiness with her sisters: They are so funny. Oumie Tutie (the middle sister) was the 1st to be sponsored before the youngest was born. They have all adopted the hand on hip stance since Ginger first met them. One Love. As always, your kids’ photos are uploaded into their folders on the website once delivered.

Please don’t be offended if your box pics don’t make this newsletter. It has taken 26 hours to collect, collate, and write this and I am not even half way through yet! Plus the time it takes the webteam to crop,edit and upload them all to the website and reproduce this blog post.

As alluded to earlier, Ginger and Sol were so happy to welcome Luke and Charlotte from School in a Bag who have partnered with S4K on many previous occasions. This collaboration was a flying visit with as much packed into 4 days as is humanly possible on Gambian Maybe Time.

Luke’s sponsored boys were so proud to tell their friends their sponsor was visiting. And in proud possession of Luke’s gift of a much-loved football.

Smiles all around:

It was quite fortunate that Sol thought to check out their visitor’s accommodation prior to their arrival. After a 15-minute trek up a deep sandy track and a long discussion with the only person in the “Hotel” it transpired the hotel had been closed and up for sale for 2 years. The dank water in the bottom of the splash pool and its’ resident mosquitoes kinda gave the game away! Fortuitously G&S managed to find rooms that were not $120 a night at the last minute and after a delay Luke and Charlotte arrived in the Smiling Coast of Africa to 30 degrees and clear blue skies.

The following photos are from SIAB and S4K Winter 2019 Collaboration:

Above: Yeovil Marathon T shirts now adorn an entire community. People still loyal to the ex-President asking for “Green Green”; being the colour of his political affiliation.

Ginger organised visits to various villages distributing clothing and school bags which was spread across 4 days with singing and dancing welcomes everywhere, as is typical in Gambia. Fatou (who has a horrible backstory) was happy to receive clothes from Nicky and little disabled Mohammed is now happy in his bright pink pushchair and with plenty of re-usable nappies. Thank you whoever donated those! Every mum present wanted them, but Fatou and Mohammed’s needs were the greatest on this occasion.

Fatou & baby Sol with donated clothes & nappies:

Mohammed:

Fatou and little Mohammed are part of S4K Pastoral care programme which supports the very disadvantaged with whatever we can rustle up. Often these recipients of Pastoral care are unable to go to school/elderly/sick or waiting for a sponsor for school. S4K do a lot of work behind the camera lens, ensuring everybody we are linked with, receives whatever we can give; Even if that is medical advice for young girls with lady problems.

School in a Bag deliveries at 2 schools = massive grins and a school cooked lunch: Lunch as locals eat. But this is the daily diet kids get. Gambian kids are very lucky if they receive a hot meal at school. All the kids wanted to eat with their bowl and “spork” (mainly due to the larger portion size!).

Below: Cooking in a Gambian school kitchen: SIAB delivery at a more remote location meant as guests we were cooked lunch of rice, cassava, chips and dried fish; served with Tapalapa a local sour-dough bread stick. The cooks all collect money from the parents to fund the food, so each child eats at least one meal a day in a country where most people live on less than $1 a day! This “Mothers Club” gave Luke and Charlotte a Gambian welcome.

    

Charlotte and Luke didn’t seem too keen to eat the dried Bongo fish with their fingers and the Cassava was a bit bland!       

Demba helped us load the hired vehicle and distribute the t shirts and is an apprentice in Gambian crowd control! Luke bought him his first Mars bar….Houston we have a problem

Daddy boy and his work: Pencil Sharpeners, bottles & exercise books all to waiting hands

(Above) Juice bottles and “roomy” t-shirts for the kids who missed out on SIAB bags.

Below SIAB’s to sponsored kids and their peers. Happy days for these smiley faces.

On many occasions when S4K have distributed donated items or school bags, there is frequently one or more kids who miss out. This is heart wrenching to see first-hand. The tears and distress are very real. Luke saw the impact not getting a school bag had first hand and we are so happy to report the remainder of the kids who missed out at Alhagie’s school are going to be getting SIAB bags very soon. Thank you Luke

  

Above: Ndoulie, friends, school bags and her spectacular school work.

Below: Alhagie’s school with Class in a bag paintings:

 

Buying the chicken for lunch…feathers included.

 

Chicken Yassa on the way…

The Chef

We had an amazing fun packed 4 days and life with a hire vehicle has shown us just how much S4K need a set of wheels. This continues to be our priority. Without a vehicle that can cope with sandy tracks, extreme heat and tropical rains we are helpless to continue our work and make a real difference where it is needed most. Ginger’s spine also means she is unable to use local transport any longer. 

Can you help?

In our last newsletter we mentioned needing medical support for one of our kids. He has a life limiting heart condition which needs urgent medical treatment, not available in Gambia. The heart charities Ginger contacted have not been forthcoming in replies to requests for help. If you or someone you know has any heart specialist contacts: PaOus needs help. Most days he asks his mum if he can run and play with his friends. Which due to the severity of his condition means he is unable to do so. Despite this, every day he wears his smile with his school uniform and studies hard each evening.

Can you help PaOus receive heart surgery?

This is the Gambian style of homework which gets PaOus 1st position not just once but all 3 terms of last year plus 1st position in 1st term this year:

Homework Gambian style. It works for PaOus 5*****:

And finally thank you to the volunteers and webteam who have kept S4K up n running while Ginger spends more time in hospitals than out. Without you, none of this would be possible. We are always looking for people to support S4K so if you have a few spare hours and want to make a difference. S4K welcomes you.

Simon Pedrick

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