Thursday, 25 December 2008

Tabaski to Christmas

Hello again. I'm back in England after amixed trip - good news and bad news. Bad in that the family of the boy with the bad leg had failed to take him back to the clinic for regular check-ups and his wound has become re-infected. Everyone blaming everyone else, lots of accusations of theft, neglect & ill-will. I arranged for the doctor to see the boy again, laid on transport, a new x-ray and both doctor & I threatened to withdraw support if a single appointment is missed in the future. This took four days of family conferences, 'phone calls, people calling at my house last thing at night and first thing in the morning to say they didn't agree with the decisions that had been reached in the previous meeting and demanding another. Outcome - the doctor has seen the boy and the leg can be treated, so I suppose that's good news!
The good Good News is that by chance I met a young woman who was forced to end her education at the age of fifteen when her father died. She led a very sad life, giving birth to two children. The father of the first child also died and the father of the second ran away. She left the village to seek her fortune and, not finding it, returned to her mother's compound and became an agricultural labourer. She had attempted to join the army and the police force but failed to satisfy either with her educational attainments.
She asked GOES for support with school fees for her children (agreed) and we discussed with her her own ambitions. It seems there is an introductory IT course which includes basic language & maths. She came to the airport to say goodbye and we found ourselves sitting at a table near two people who had taken the course we were discussing and offered her help with it. Also within earshot was the head of a fairly local nursery school who offered the girl a job as a student teacher provided she achieved good grades in the IT course! She also offered her the chance to practice on the school's typewriter to help with her keyboard skills! As I left for the departure lounge the four of them were still deep in conversation.
Apart from two doses of Banjul Belly (don't ask!) my health kept up, my lungs and heart continued to work and I was too busy to worry about it anyway ...
Thanks from all the people you have helped and I'll post some pictures after the family celebrations are over.
Happy Christmas, and we wish you good health, happiness and long life for 2009.

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