Monday, 24 July 2017

Gift Aid!

Thank you, supporters! Family, friends, kind strangers. Thanks to all of you for your help, donations and encouragement during the past year (and many years before for most of you :-) )
HMRC have paid out again, accepting this time my handwritten and rather tatty claim form, having failed to master the on-line procedure yet again.
As before, money doesn't linger long in the GOES account. Most is already in The Gambia, working away in hospitals, clinics, and schools. A fair proportion has gone directly ti people who needed urgent medical treatment, fees for exams, and other emergency help. Using Smallworld Financial Services, GOES can receive an appeal for help in the early morning, have the case verified by our local representative and have the money ready for collection in a local bank the same day. And we'll check on the result during one of our visits to the country, later this year, all being well.
Again, thanks - and to those of you who can make the journey  (six hours on a plane ...) you'll be made welcome by the people of this lovely, tiny, poor country.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Free holiday reading!

Hello: while you laze on the beach basking under the warmth and glow of a British holiday sun I offer you four free ebooks set under a hotter, sub-Saharan sun. They will introduce you to the imaginary Gambian village of Malinding, where cultures meet and romance might just possible blossom.
Empty Bananas sets the scene and introduces some of the characters,
Mussukunda explores the strengths and capabilities of a group of women,
Girl on Wheels introduces Jodie, a mixed-race young woman coping with social and physical difficulties,
and Stories for Gambian Children is just that!
Read, then Go - and explore this wonderful tiny country for yourself :-)
Oh, and take some pencils and books for the schools you'll be invited to visit!

The four ebooks mentioned above are on free offer till 04/07/2017, Google Empty Bananas on Amazon.


DIAPORA—Since last Wednesday, we’ve been learning the stories behind the lives lost in the devastating fire that burned down Grenfell Tower in West London. Among the 79 victims that are dead or presumed dead was Khadija Saye—a 24-year-old British-Gambian photographer whose career was on the cusp of flourishing.
Saye was trapped on the 20th floor, in the apartment she shares with her mother when the fire started. As it progressed, she posted heartbreaking Facebook statuses asking her friends and families for their prayers.
In a cruel twist of fate, the artist died as she was beginning to reap the fruits of her hard work. Her latest collection, Dwelling: in this space we breathe,” a series of photographs exploring traditional Gambian spiritual practices, was on display at the 57th Venice Bienniale.
“In the last few weeks she had been invited to show in all kinds of serious galleries, her dreams were actually beginning to manifest themselves in the most exciting way,” her mentor Nicola Green told the Guardian.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

More peop[le die in London

Sad news again, At least 6 more deaths of people killed indiscriminately as they went about their business. Men, women, regardless of age, belief or ethnicity, mown down, and dozens more, wounded, crippled, lives changed, robbed of happiness and health.
Sad news, which has prompted lots of our Gambian Muslim friends to worry about our safety and the well-being of our friends here in England. They seek to comfort us, to say over and over again that this atrocity is not committed in their name, and not in the name of their religion. They ask the same question as we do - 'Why do these people do this thing?'
We remind them that they are our friends, we know they care for us and that we love them and feel safe in their company. We know they are good people and we do not hold them in any way responsible for such atrocities.
May there be peace, good health, long life, and happiness.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Charity books!

Felt a little shocked today - looking round a local charity shop I found a couple of the Malinding Village books on sale :-) Granted that they won't contribute to GOES but if their new readers happen to enjoy them and are tempted buy the rest of the series from Amazon African children can benefit. The charity shop these particular books are in supports English children who need help so that's a good outcome anyway.
GOES is plodding on - we've sent money to a couple of Gambian village clinics and paid the school fees of several young students

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Fingers crossed again for Gift Aid!

We've celebrated another birthday each, had a bit of a rest, eaten some great meals (Domoda not available here though - more's the pity :-( )
We've kept GOES ticking over: you're helping students young and old continue their education, from student midwives to first year nursery children, We've ensured that Mandinari Village Clinic is supplied with medical necessities and Banjul Hospital with paper for printing patient records. We've helped repair damaged house (weather damage not riotous mobs!) and coasted along for a while.
We are aware that we're not getting younger. Can't see us as 'old' but some days it's a close thing! Obviously, sooner or later, we'll have to wind GOES down. We've seen the country grow from a dictatorship to a democracy. It will take a while for changes to come, remembering that the outgoing President is alleged to have taken a liberal amount of cash with him. The new man aims to have universal free education for all, clean water for the population, and decent sanitation. It all costs money but we trust good things will start to happen. I guess we can hang around for another year, another visit, another chance to see for ourselves how things are going.
We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in The Gambia. We have met wonderful people, funny, beautiful children and we have been privileged to see many of them complete their studies and gain qualifications. We have also seen others who, tragically did not survive. Today's paper foretells that Malaria will be wiped from Africa in the next few years. I wish we could do more.
The cheering thought is that every tourist charter plane that lands at Banjul Airport carries a hundred, maybe more, passengers bringing pencils for schools, blackboard paint, paracetamol tablets for clinics, old reading glasses, money, water filters, clothing - all for distribution. And they, like us, will carry home memories of chatting with friends, drinking Ataya and feasting on Benechin and Domada.
Yes, another year, I hope.