Sunday, 30 October 2016

Then and now and books

J and I had a day off yesterday. We went to my birth-town, Northwich in Cheshire, to meet some other people who, like us, are interested in History. J even bought me a slice of cake as a reward for driving! Cheshire is one of the most beautiful counties in England. Gentle rolling hills, green lanes, trees, sheep and cows, lovely little villages with a school and a church and a pond with ducks paddling around it. We have rivers and canals and castles and lots of history. Pretty, all very pretty.
But a couple of hundred years ago some of these lovely villages weren't quite so pretty: some of the pretty little cottages, the ones that cost a fortune to buy or rent now, these cottages would have been crammed with children and with parents who worked very hard down the coal mines. No coal mines now, of course; they belonged to the bad old days. There's a nice new BMW or AUDI parked outside today. Back in the day the miner, and some of his children, walked a couple to miles to the mine, spent their days in darkness, and, exhausted after a hard day's work, walked the same couple of miles back to their rented cottage.
And what has this to do with the Gambia? Well, so what was going on there, a couple of hundred years ago? Well, people were working their gardens, building their houses, trying to look after their children, just like the poor people of Cheshire, but with one huge difference. The poor folk of Cheshire were not likely to have been taken as slaves. Slavery still goes on, possibly even more than in the bad old days. Poverty still exists, even in Cheshire people live in slums, parents go hungry to let their children eat. Families depend on food banks, places set up in village halls and churches, to help people in poverty have food to eat. I know that people in the Gambia live in poverty, depend on support from family and friends and neighbours.
My point?
We are the same people, linked by a desire to support our children, see them educated, see them live happy, secure lives. We want to see them in good employment. The more I travel the more I realise that all good people are the same, whatever colour or faith or language they have, I feel safe when I live for a while in the homes of my Gambian friends. I wish that they could travel safely to visit me, and I wish that they could prosper in their own lands so that, having made that visit, they could cheerfully and willingly return to their own prosperous, happy, country.

In the meantime, learn a little about village life by purchasing one (or all!) of the Malinding series of eBooks from Amazon. All the income from the sale of these books goes, without deduction, to help schools and clinics in The Gambia.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Everything but the Gambia!

There seem to be too many things happening to stop us concentrating on GOES. The house is being decorated, the car needs an MOT, both J and I have medical treatments looming, J has a uni course to complete and I'm 26k words into the next book ... whinge whinge and whine whine!
We have managed to tear ourselves away from coping with everyday life long enough to pay a few teachers, send a few children to school, pay a couple of hospital bills, send money to repair a house damaged by rain and spend a little money on some plumbing.
Someday we will have to wind up the charity. Retire? No, not just yet - retiring is what old folk do! Just think of this post as a seasonal grumble. We're missing Africa - it's eight months since we were there. J is missing the babies and I'm missing Domada and Benechin (not two beautiful ladies - two beautiful ways of cooking fish!) and we're both missing the sunshine and our lovely friends.

You could help by buying any or all of the Malinding series of ebooks from Amazon - the money goes directly into the GOES bank account and from there to the Gambia to support health and educational projects. And HMRC adds 25% Gift Aid to help!

Monday, 10 October 2016

They had me in stitches!

Or, just call me Scarface! A longer absence from the blog than I intended. We spent a couple of very happy weeks in Germany, staying with family friends and visiting art galleries and museums and eating too much cake. A totally wonderful experience. Jodie grew another 2K words and enjoyed herself immensely. She managed to behave well too!
Things went wrong when, safely back on English soil I managed to trip over something on my way back from the village shop and knock myself out. I woke up in an ambulance on the way to our local hospital. We paused to pick up J from home and I was deposited, very gently, at A & E. I had all sorts of tests and scans (it seems that the brain is in good condition!) and I had a bit of face sewn back into position. I was kept in hospital for a night, ate an excellent apple crumble with custard. A charming Irish nurse told me Irish folk stories and I was packed off home feeling very much better. The brain news was cheering.
Yesterday I was able to attend the wedding of a niece. I thought my injuries might scare people off but I was asked to dance by charming ladies (including J of course!) I had a whale of a great time - thanks to all of you, young/old, Anglo or Germanic! I love the world :-)
Delighted to discover that another niece is going to train for a very demanding Nursing role - hope I don't need her skills but very proud of her.
Managed to conduct a bit of GOES business during all this - sent some help for students and dealt with a couple of requests for help with repairs, and modifications to the plumbing at a village clinic.
Having for once been on the receiving end of medical help I wish that all countries in the world, especially those in what we call 'the third world' could receive treatment to the same standard I was give just a few short days ago. GOES tries: perhaps you could help by purchasing one or more of the 'Malinding' series of ebooks about life in an African village?
All income from the sale of these books goes (!) straight into the charity account.
Best wishes,
(Oh, and thanks to P, who chatted to me about life in a chair and gave Jodie a vast amount of information).