This spring six members of our association, twelve sponsors and sympathizers went to The Gambia. For quite a lot of them it was the first trip to the black continent and therefore full of new impressions and deeply moving, emotional experiences.
This way an important step is done to teach firm hygienic habits. The teachers urge the children to wash their hands with soap – provided by their parents – before having a meal and after they were at the toilets.
Last year the Gambian ministry for education controlled the nursery schools all over the country and closed 33 of them because of different reasons. We had to build the toilet for girls further away from the boys’ toilet. That was done, too, and we are proud that our school is seen as one of the best in that area.
Another pump repair was necessary again. The cylinder lay broken on the bottom of the well about 8 metres under water. Thanks to our village people’s talent for organisation we could buy a new cylinder – the village people absolutely wanted a German product, because of its quality – and a diver came to exchange the cylinders. After three days everything was done and together with the children, their parents and the “Tubabs” (white people) the water supply system opening took place in a happy, typically African atmosphere.
Our time there went by very fast. We went to see the children who have godparents in Germany, gave the presents – brought with us from Germany – to the 90 children and their families, medicines and emergency supplies were taken to the male nurse Mussa in our medical centre and we handed a lot of glasses over to the doctors in the only ophthalmic clinic in The Gambia.
As our stay there went on three friends of our association spontaneously became godparents to young village people. Now these young people can attend a secondary school. For example, Mariama Kandeh, a 17 years old girl, can start a vocational training to become a taylor. The godparents, Matthias Thomsen and Heike Haas, handed a sewing machine over to her. This way the girl soon will be able to earn her living herself.
Heike Burghardt and her 7-year old daughter became godparents to the 17 years old Fatu Jallow. Now Faty can continue her studies in a high school.
Her father died some time ago and so she lives alone with her mother in the village. Her brothers are brought up by her dead father’s relatives in Senegal. When Fatu got to know that somebody makes it possible for her to finish her studies she was so happy that she run away in tears. Seeing that there wasn’t a dry eye among us.
Ulrike Milinski and her 13 years old son Tillmann will finance Keba Suwane’s – who is the same age as Tillmann – education.
Another family was very happy when we gave an oven as a present to them. In this family the father is a baker and is now able to supply the people in his and the neighbouring villages with bread. So he is able to earn his seven persons family’s living.
The traditional beach party was a special highlight for all of us. It was the first time that black and white children had a party together. We prepared many games and the children, the black and white ones, had a lot of fun. Especially the swinging cloth (6 by 6 metres) and the sweet chain, which was made by Jette and Tillmann, were the attractions of the games.
All in all it was a very exciting and emotionally moving stay for all of us. So we were encouraged to go on helping the people in Labakoreh.