Volunteer Diary


Watch out, there is something about The Gambia that gets into your blood & leaves a fizz in there which won’t go away…..

What an amazing time Clair, Lille, Sammy & I had at Tendaba Lower Basic School for 7 days & a weekend. We worked with the children, playing parachute games, rugby,made musical instruments, told stories, participated in impromptu dancing to rhythms drummed out on 25 litre plastic drums with wooden sticks, flew kites & boomerangs, talked about the history of flight, made paper aeroplanes, built a clay oven, made bread & last monday evening set fire to the oven & cooked, to the sound of more drumming and dancing.The little hot air balloons caught fire & never made it into the sky.

We drove 2 hours to Soma on the saturday, bought paint, brushes & rollers, returned & by sunday evening had painted 3 classrooms – gave the children a cracking suprise on the monday morning!

We ate fish from the river with rice, from a communal bowl at lunchtimes,provided by the school cook. We learnt about the Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) the ‘upside down’ tree.If its circumference is 30 metres it is about 4000 years old!You can get a drink from the pulp of the fruit. We took a long boat with outboard across the gigantically wide River Gambia, into the Mangroves on the far side & saw birds & crocks.

The community was so very welcoming, the children a pleasure to be with. The dedication & committment to the learning process by the staff – Mr Alie Boye, Mr Babu Fatty & Miss Mariana Bajo, with precious few resources, is to be congratulated. A big hug & thanks to Nyima for co-ordinating our stay so well.A great big thank you to Lamin for making all the arrangements,to his Mum & Dad for making us so welcome at their home party at Kwinella, & total gratitude & appreciation to all the children, to Alie, to Babu, to the beautiful Mariana for their help, their support & their kindness.To them I say ‘Hello everybody’, ‘Abaraka!’

Saying goodbye was very hard. The fizz is still within me.