We've celebrated another birthday each, had a bit of a rest, eaten some great meals (Domoda not available here though - more's the pity :-( )
We've kept GOES ticking over: you're helping students young and old continue their education, from student midwives to first year nursery children, We've ensured that Mandinari Village Clinic is supplied with medical necessities and Banjul Hospital with paper for printing patient records. We've helped repair damaged house (weather damage not riotous mobs!) and coasted along for a while.
We are aware that we're not getting younger. Can't see us as 'old' but some days it's a close thing! Obviously, sooner or later, we'll have to wind GOES down. We've seen the country grow from a dictatorship to a democracy. It will take a while for changes to come, remembering that the outgoing President is alleged to have taken a liberal amount of cash with him. The new man aims to have universal free education for all, clean water for the population, and decent sanitation. It all costs money but we trust good things will start to happen. I guess we can hang around for another year, another visit, another chance to see for ourselves how things are going.
We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in The Gambia. We have met wonderful people, funny, beautiful children and we have been privileged to see many of them complete their studies and gain qualifications. We have also seen others who, tragically did not survive. Today's paper foretells that Malaria will be wiped from Africa in the next few years. I wish we could do more.
The cheering thought is that every tourist charter plane that lands at Banjul Airport carries a hundred, maybe more, passengers bringing pencils for schools, blackboard paint, paracetamol tablets for clinics, old reading glasses, money, water filters, clothing - all for distribution. And they, like us, will carry home memories of chatting with friends, drinking Ataya and feasting on Benechin and Domada.
Yes, another year, I hope.