Saturday, 24 November 2007

Whatever next?

Feeling down in the dumps since the Charity Commissioners deemed us to be too small an operation to be registered as a charity. We haven't topped the required turnover of £5000 in the past twelve months, though we're only a few pounds short. We immediately emailed the given address but have not received a reply yet. The bright side is that we are able to register with the Inland Revenue, or whatever they're called now, for Gift Aid status. This will enable us to claim 28% on tax paid donations and will enable us to help many more people.
Much better news is that the Vale Royal Writers Group have selected GOES to be their charity of choice to receive any profit from the sale of their first publication - an excellent anthology of members writing, both poetry and prose. Knowing how much work has been put into this book with very little help from us we are very moved by such kindness.
Snips, the barber in Warrington Market, raised a wonderful £60 for us from a carboot sale. This could feed five families for a month, pay the school fees for five nursery school children for a year, buy forty mosquito nets - really practical help, generously given.
Just tried and failed to download pictures from the last trip using Picasa2. Fingers crossed, here goes again. Ah well ... please try later ...

Friday, 9 November 2007

Home Again.

Back home after two wonderful Gambian weeks. Very hot weeks, but rewarding. I did like the accommodation Adama had found for me - it even had running water and electricty most of the time. I like Bakau; not a tourist town but a fishing village come market town. It even has Timbooktoo, an air-conditioned bookshop with a coffee bar - I wish Warrington had its equal!
I spent several happy days living in Mandinari as guest of Ebou. He's decided not to try to enter Europe by the back door, thank goodness. I'm trying to help him set up a little business so he can feed his family.
GOES managed to help a small boy with a horribly swollen and ulcerated leg to receive medical attention. Poor kid had been suffering for twelve months while his mum hoped he would get better.
We helped several schools with funds, and made contact with a number of other charities in the same line of work. I sometimes think that every other person on the Banjul flight is engaged in an attempt to improve life for Gambians, and it infuriates me that the British government has done so little. I stood in the Military cemetery at Fajara and looked at the war graves of young men who had given their lives for a far-away country. I wept for their dedication and devotion to an ungrateful nation which makes it difficult for their descendants to visit their "motherland".
Memories? Lots of laughter, babies, wonderful food and kindness. Photographs back on Tuesday, and the skin infection should have cleared up by then!