Friday, 1 May 2015

20th April, 2015. Monday, Loumen and a great welcome at Jamwelly

We were all awake with the sun, and began the task of dismantling our "camp" before the children arrive for school. Steve and I loaded some boxes which had been delivered by large truck, onto the minibus and went to Kataba with Omar, whilst the others stayed in Kumbija. Kataba a school which is twinned with a school in Bradford, is about 5 miles away and our delivery from their twin school didn't take too long, we were back in Kumbija just after school started. Steve and Omar began to load the truck whilst the rest of us observed lessons and met the teachers before once again piling into the minibus. A bumpy road through the scrubland, bare now of vegetation as the rainy season approaches, we bumped along to Loumen, school number two on our itinerary. Mr Bah was waiting on the verandah as we drove through the gates. Everyone was greeted and introduced, before going to look at the ladies garden which is thriving, and the classes in progress.  We unloaded our supplies for the school and arranged some photographs.  We were there in time for break, when the pupils lined up to wash their hands before sitting down at communal bowls for lunch. Then it was time to leave and make our way to Kaur, breakfast was calling! The best cafe in town is a corrugated shack at the crossroads in Kaur. NescafĂ© and an omelette sandwich for everyone before heading to Jamwelly.  We had alerted the headteacher to our imminent arrival and so were met on the road with pupils and teachers chanting welcome and waving to us. Steve, Denise and Julie got out and walked with the crowds whilst Omar drove on to the school.  The local ladies were dancing for us, some of us joined in, the village elders had come out to meet us, a few short speeches were made whilst we sat under the verandah out of the sun. A wedding was taking place in the village, We ladies decided to go and investigate, leaving Iain, Robbie and Steve in the school. A very young girl was having her part of the wedding ceremony today, her future husband will arrive next week. Lots more dancing to join in with before returning to the school. It is very hot here, the furthest point in our journey from the sea, on reaching the classrooms we found the airbeds had been blown up and so the other ladies had a sleep during the hottest part of the afternoon. As it cooled down more activity was possible, photos were taken and more interaction with the villagers who had come to see us at the school.  Steve had a long discussion with the head teacher, (a short one is impossible with Mr Sawaneh) I went to take photos of birds and the others played with the dog and the pupils.  Chargi one of the trainee teachers and another girl were cooking our dinner with the supplies we had brought.  Just before dark we all had our showers and sat under the stars waiting for our delicious dinner before bedtime.

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