Saturday, 1 February 2014

29.1.14 Wednesday. Jamwelly

An early start for everyone this morning 6am, we were slower driving than the minibus as we had quite a lot of weight on the back of the truck.  Jamwelly continues to expand and has asked for more tables and chairs to accommodate the growing number of pupils.  The border between Senegal and Gambia is still closed in a dispute over whether the people crossing the river should pay in Senegalese or Gambian currency, and so although the others had crossed reasonably quickly at Soma, having arrived at the port at the same time as an empty ferry, we had to wait over an hour and a half whilst the ferry filled up on the Farafenni side of the river.  Finally, after some time and breakfast in the truck, we crossed over and met the others in the town centre.  I went to visit Alagie and pay for the cement we had last week, some shopping was done, and then we all set off for Jamwelly.  Channeh knew we were on the way and had arranged for the pupils to stay behind to greet us.  What a greeting!  They were all at the gate with flags of both the Gambia and Great Britain, and chanted welcome as we drove up.  We could not drive into the playground, so we disembarked from our transport and walked into the school.  Several of the local ladies had also turned out to greet us and we walked into a wall of sound as drumming, dancing and singing took place.  Having walked to the veranda in front of the school, the children lined up and then were led in a song written especially for our visit.  Lunch for the children was then served and the ladies asked us to watch a cultural display of dancing and traditions connected with a wedding ceremony.  Then a Kancoran arrived and danced around the playground to frantic drumming.  The celebrations went on for some time before everyone started to drift back to their compounds and it was then quiet enough for Channeh and the elders of the village to have a meeting with Christine, Linda, Steve and I to discuss the progress of the school.
One of the concerns was that the cooking pots we provided are too small for the number of pupils to have the lunch provided so we agreed that Channeh and I would go shopping to the ‘Lumo’ local market which takes place in Kaur on Thursdays.
When everyone had finally left, we organised our sleeping arrangements and then all took it in turns for a shower before sitting down to wait for the delicious chicken dinner cooked for us by Channeh and 2 ladies.

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