Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Sorry to have been away from the blog for so long - blame age and decrepitude! Good news; Tida's children are now at nursery school and she has bravely returned to education after a break of eight years. We found an I.T. introductory course which also covers English and maths in the next village. She's a bright lady and life hasn't been too kind to her lately. Thanks for your help.
Y.B. completes his advanced I.T. course and is looking for work. He'd llike help with further study and needs a sponsor.
F.C. is due to move to Bansang Nursing School to begin her training, and sends her thanks to all who have supported her so far. Her nursing training is funded by the state.
Ami and Musa and Adam and Matty and Haddy are doing well at their schools, but N'dey and Sally and many, many others need help. School fees vary from about £25 a year, including 2 uniforms, for a child at nursery school, to £60 a term (or more) for a youngster at Upper Basic school. At this level there are lots of top-up fees for extra tuition and activities!
An introduction to I.T., such as Tida is embarking on, costs a basic 3,500dalasis (plus 1,200dalasis for books). I've changed from Sterling to Dalasi because recently the value of the pound has dropped steeply. Just over a year ago I was able to exchange at a rate of 50D to the £. In December I could obtain 40D/£, since Christmas the rate has been about 37D/£ and there is talk of the rate falling as low as 30D/£.
Add this to the 'Credit Crunch' and the situation becomes serious. Think in terms of a bag of rice. Rice is the staple food and a 25kg bag will feed a family of six people for a month.
Reverting to Sterling for the sake of comparison; Two years ago GOES could donate a bag of rice for £12. Now it costs £25 to fund the same gift. If the rate falls to 30D/£ we are looking at a price of £31 - assuming the price of rice remains at present levels.
We enjoy running GOES - it's made many friends both here and in The Gambia, but I have to confess to lying awake at night trying to decide which of two or three or more deserving cases gains the support they need.
On the other hand the generosity of both friends and strangers continues to amaze and delight us. Thanks also to our sources of regular income - you know who you are. Also to Hatter's and Snips and Borders. I'll repeat the invitation - visit The Gambia and meet the people you've helped!
Thanks for reading this - comments/advice/suggestions welcome!
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Happy New Year!