Friday, 15 August 2008

Learn the lesson.

I was chatting to my barber at Snips in Warrington market the other day. He's a keen reader, as well as helping GOES with a collection box. We remembered the books we had read as children, and the sauce bottles and everything and anything that had words on it. That took me back to the day in The Gambia when I was sorting out a village school library. Many of the books had been badly damaged by rain and by termites. They were in a dreadful state and because the village didn't run to a rubbish collection I decided to burn them. It was a Saturday morning and not a soul in sight. I dug a shallow fire pit and lit a few twigs and leaves. I started to tear up one of the most badly damaged books and threw a few pages onto the fire. I was disturbed by shouts of "No! Stop! Stop!" and a group of eleven and twelve year old children raced towards me. One grabbed the pages from the fire and stamped out the flames. I saw there were tears in his eyes. "Please don't do this, please" he begged. "They are books!" I pointed out that the books were ruined, destroyed by damp or termites and were in any case unsuitable for children of their age.
"Tom," said their leader."We can see how the writer used words, how he constructed sentences; we can see how adverbs and adjectives are used, which tenses are employed. These books can teach us many things. There are no books in our homes."
I felt about half an inch high. Out of the mouths ...
Half a book is better than none. As somebody said "We don't know we're born."

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Life goes on!

Managed to load the pictures of Alhagie. The room in the clinic looks lovely and clean, but he was, I think, a little lonely and missed the constant comings and goings of his compound. He was delighted with the TV and you can see that he was able to stand up and turn it on! You'll notice how thin his right leg is. It's healing well but he'll have to build up the muscles before he can start running again. He'll be fit to return to school in the Autumn, and we're looking for a sponsor to help him.
It's the rainy season now (here as well!) and there will be requests for help with damaged roofs and walls.
Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue have paid a useful sum of Gift Aid into our GOES account with the Coop bank and we'll find good use for it.
In our spare time (don't retire - you don't get days off!) we are learning to ride a tandem again. Fifty years ago a tandem was our daily transport and we're turning back the clock! I forget the excuse we used to justify it but it's really good fun!
Thanks again to all our supporters - you know who you are, friends!
Best wishes,
Joyce & Tom.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Photo file (I hope!)

Back in the saddle!

Good news!
Alhagie has been passed as fit by the doctor. I'll try to post some photographs (probably not the rather grisly one of the fragments of bone removed from the infected leg!) He is travelling to the clinic three times a week to have the wound dressed - quite a good idea as he lives in a very dusty environment at home! He's looking forward to being able to join his football team and most of all wants to go for a good long run again!
He would also like to resume his studies - he's a bright lad but has fallen sadly behind in his school work over the last three years. He needs some body who will support him with school and later college fees.
It's very upsetting when a family is promised support in educating their child only to find after a term or two that the novelty has worn off for the donor. If you are considering help in young person please be prepared to stay with that commitment for a long time. If you can't, for whatever reason, go to that extent please consider a one-off donation to GOES for use in emergency help - house repairs, mosquito nets, medical help or whatever.
Other news - Horija is still working with refugees in Uganda but hopes to return to The Gambia and find employment in the Autumn. Moses is back at the football academy after visiting relations in Senegal. Ami is hard at wok at Summer school (hope her maths are responding!),
Awa is completing her teacher training, Ma has finished her house, Adama's mum is enjoying her restored vision after the cataract operation ... and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has donated nearly a thousand pounds of Gift Aid money to GOES. Thanks to everybody who Gift Aided their donations - it does work!