Monday, 31 March 2014

Well, what did we do with your money?

Just looking back over the notes we made during the week we were out there - and remembering that one day was lost because the country ran out of petrol! Here's a list of what we did with your money:
 Sad one first - we gave money to an old lady; her son has travelled to Europe to seek his fortune (he was lucky enough to survive the sea crossing to Lampedusa but was arrested and to the best of our knowledge is now in an internment camp). He was trying to support his mother, wife and children and is now unable to do so. We gave his mum cash to buy food for the family and medication for herself,, but we heard she died two days after our return home.
 Better news now - the young woman who was told she had breast cancer and travelled, with your help, to Dakar for treatment, discovered that she did not have a cancerous growth and, after a final check, is back at work supporting her family.
 The young lady who received a modern wheelchair is increasingly independent.
 The village clinic we support received gifts of medical equipment, supplies of over-the-counter drugs and money to buy prescription only medications.
 We met a young woman who is working 13 hours, seven days a week, fifty weeks a year,  to support her family, including a very bright twelve years old sister who wants to be a doctor. This child suffers from a severe version of Sickle-Cell Anaemia; we have been able to donate sufficient money to enable her treatment to be continued, possibly also in Dakar.
 The little boy with suspected cancer of the eye has also received treatment in Dakar and returned home. He has not lost the eye, though sight has been damaged. He has to return to the hospital for a final check.
 A 'hard working family' has received help to improve irrigation of their small holding and to purchase cement to re-inforce the walls of their home which was damaged in last year's rains.
 We continue to support a number of adult students studying nursing, business studies and IT courses.
Bags of rice and sacks of cement go to families in need, money for house repairs, books, clothing go to others.
 The boy who received treatment for a heart condition is a teenager now, anxious to catch up with the education he missed due to his condition. You helped him to continue his studies. You should have seen his smile!
 Our next job is to prepare a claim to HMRC for Gift Aid, which will of course go back into the GOES bank account to continue the work you so kindly sponsor.
 Thanks also due to those of you who have bought the Kindle ebooks in the 'Malinding' series from Amazon. That money goes directly into the GOES bank account and helps to fund the activities listed above.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

All in a week's work!

Honestly, we really do more than sit around chatting to our friends and eating delicious Gambian food. Sometimes we really are quite busy! But yes, we do sit around and chat! The art of conversation is alive and well and living in The Gambia. Everybody has a turn to speak and it's rare to be interrupted. I love this country; the eagerness for education, the kindness to strangers, the politeness of children and the gentle sense of humour.
 I'll deal with the work GOES did on this visit but for now I'm just enjoying memories and wishing I was back in the sunshine.
P.S. If you're waiting for a text from me I had better tell you I've lost my 'phone. Hope to find it soon ...
Best wishes, and thanks to all my friends for their help.

Monday, 24 March 2014

We're back!

Returned to UK about 06.00hrs. Just woken up. Reports later, but it all went well. I think ...

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Picture Books!

Free Ebooks!

The entire Malinding series - all 4 of them - Empty Bananas/Mussukunda/The Mechanical Girl and The Alkalo are on Kindle Books (Amazon) for 5 days on free offer. Stories for Gambian Children is there too. If you're familiar with The Gambia, or thinking of taking a holiday there they might be just the books you're looking for. Happy reading!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Good morning, Chinese reader!

I know a lot of our friends/readers live in the UK/America/Africa but  yesterday we had a hit from China! Welcome, sir or madam, we're happy to greet you!
As a late Christmas present we're offering all the Malinding series of books (the ones about an imaginary Gambian village) and Stories for Gambian Children, free on Amazon. They are ebooks, so you'll need a Kindle reader or you could just download the ebook reader app for use on your tablet/laptop/PC.
Happy reading!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Packing time again.

All being well we will soon escape the rain and head for Gambian sunshine. Thomas Cook again helped us to find a great deal, which means we can visit our West African projects. Our funds are down a little so we won't be taking on any new work but we're going to make sure that we keep promises made last time. The clinics and schools, together with the on-going medical care we've already embarked on will continue to be supported. As I've mentioned before, the hardest part of this job is saying 'no' to somebody who really needs help. Whenever that happens we try to find another charity which may be able to help. Over the past years we've found who we can trust ...
 We're waiting for TC's final decision on extra baggage but we do have room for more medical tackle - reading glasses, wound dressings, Paracetamol and so on. Talking about drugs we've had a problem obtaining out anti-malarials this year. For the last fifteen years or so we've toddled along to our local surgery, been checked over by a nurse, been given a prescription and received our tablets from a pharmacy; done in a day. This year the travel clinic has closed. We put in a request for a prescription - received a 'phone call - 'That's not the way we do it! Go to your pharmacy and ask to be examined there.' We made an appointment. The Pharmacist seemed to be surprised but took full medical history, put in a request to the surgery. His request was refused - he hadn't filled in the right form. He didn't know about this new form and the surgery didn't offer him one. He consulted the other pharmacists he knew; 'What form?'
 Back he went to the surgery - they had the form! He called me, we filled the form in - all the information requested was already in the medical records held by the surgery ... we're waiting the stipulated 48 hours to find out if this time we're lucky. Comment fails me - perhaps you can guess what I'm thinking?