Sunday, 2 February 2014

30.1.14 Thursday. Lumo and then Loumen

We were all awake early and cleared the classrooms in time for the pupils to start their lessons.  Steve and Jim were putting a plaque on the well which had been capped and turned into a pump well last year, thanks to a kind donation from the Hussain family in England. Everyone else split their time between the classes, whilst Channeh and I set off in the truck for the Lumo.  This was the first time Channeh had seen me drive and she was quite surprised, she said she didn’t realise I could drive and that ‘it was interesting!’  The Lumo is a travelling market which visits different towns on the same day every week, we were lucky that the day for Kaur was Thursday and we were able to buy the big pots needed for the school.  Some hard bartering was required as the price went up as soon as they saw me of course.  The pots are so heavy that we had to get a donkey cart to carry them back to the truck.  The stalls are all constructed in wooden frames and placed close together and it is an art for the small boys running the carts to get in between the stalls without knocking them down and sending all the colourful wares in all directions.  We loaded the pots and then went back to search for the food items required for school lunches.  Channeh and I ducked in between stalls selling fabrics, vegetables, pots, plastic bowls in all colours, electrical items, soap, clothes and any other household item you could possibly want here.  Our purchases complete we drove back to Jamwelly and unloaded everything before packing all our personal items into the truck and all setting off for Kaur where the 10 of us and Omar crowded into the local café for breakfast. The cafe is a corrugate shack at the side of the road, but the food is delicious.  11 coffees and 11 omelette sandwiches later we left for Loumen, arriving just in time to see the pupils lining up to wash their hands for lunch, then collect their lunch, then washing again.  Lunch is provided in large bowls, 7 or 8 children sit round a bowl and eat with their right hand, rolling the rice into small balls to eat. We had a meeting with the headteacher, Mr Bah, whilst some of the others organised singing games on the football pitch in front of the school.
The weather is much hotter in this part of the Gambia, and soon we were all much too hot to carry on with any more games.  The veranda is shelter out of the sun, and we sat in the shade before setting off on the next part of the journey.  Omar and the others went straight to Kumbija to rest in the shade, whilst we went into the village of Loumen to meet with Samba, the head of the School Management Committee.  Also one of his wives had been treated by Faith whilst she was here, and Mell was continuing the treatment today.  We met with some of the villagers and then set off to Pallen, where we collected cous and groundnuts from Mr Jallow’s brother to take back to Mr Jallow in the Kombos.  We arrived around 3pm in Kumbija and took advantage of the large mango tree to sit in the shade during the hottest part of the day.
When it cooled down Lynda, Denise and I went to Farato with Omar to visit with Fatou and deliver the food items needed to cook our evening meal.  Back to the school, where we had a meeting with Mr Sowe, and then Jim joined us with some ideas of how to improve the water supply to the school.  
All showered we sat round a table in the playground with Baatchi and waited for our evening meal, very soon Fatou arrived with two large bowls and we sat under the stars and ate our meal.

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