Back in England after an exciting trip, full of surprises, not least that of developing Banjul Belly (don't ask!) on the plane home. Recovering nicely, thanks - may move on to eating again by Christmas Eve, I hope.
Very mixed memories: the death of a friend's wife in childbirth. Baby delivered dead and mother died three days later. Counter that with the discovery that a girl whom you have helped to sponsor has completed her nurse training and is doing a third year to study midwifery.
Two friends have had their houses very badly damaged in the rainy season. You've helped them, too. A girl GOES has supported through high school has completely fluffed her exams this term - 'fail' in nearly every subject - and was in a blind panic about failing her finals in May. A bit of reasoning - she normally scores 'excellent' and 'credit' marks, and the promise of a maths tutor helped to calm her.
All the mobile 'phones and spectacles, the knitted bonnets and clothing, the medical supplies and books found good homes.
Met representatives of two other charities and talked about ways in which we can be mutually supportive.
Had a day off and stayed in the hotel for one whole day: fourteen of our students visited me! Highlight of that day was the girl who had never set foot in a swimming pool and ended the day, supported by a buoyancy, aid swimming twelve circuits of the pool with a huge grin on her face!
Happy day spent at the home of a lady who had just returned from Mecca; sad day at the 'forty day charity' following the death from a heart attack of a 19 year old boy who had been treated for asthma ... his mother was so distressed and a hundred people wishing her well didn't help much on the day.
Thanks to all the friends there who fed me, gave me a bed for the night, gave advice, kept me up talking till the early hours, escorted me and told me off when I walked too far in the hot sun or helped to push-start stalled taxis.
Thanks to all the friends here who support us, encourage us to carry on, donate materials and money and listen to my interminable droning on about The Gambia.
May you all enjoy long life, good health and happiness.
When I'm a bit more organised I'll post some photographs. Probably!