The IRA group arrived just a little late on Saturday night. The poor dears had left Inverness about 3:00am on Saturday morning, spent eight hours on a coach, then eventually flew from Manchester about 3:00pm. The plane touched down in Banjul at 9:15pm, about 20 minutes behind schedule. Alasana, Sadibou, Rohey and I met them and we returned to Bakau in a hired bus, reaching “home” about 11:00pm. Cecilia had prepared chicken and chips for everyone (why were mine never hot before?) and after that the exhausted kids collapsed into bed, whilst the staff socialised briefly then did the same.

This morning breakfast was at 8:00 as usual and we got much higher quality bread than I’ve been accustomed to: the good Doctor had shown Mousa “The Baker’s Dozen” bakery, so we also got lovely bread, apparently “Hovis”, at lunchtime. Today there weren’t even ants in the jam, as there were the other day, so I feel aggrieved at the way the group is being cosseted.

The morning was relaxed, not to say boring: but it allowed the group to be shown round the “campus”, to meet some of the Gambian counterparts and generally “chill”. Some of us did go for a short walk sightseeing and leg-stretching.

After our lunch we had a mercifully short welcome from Alasana and then we headed off to Katchikally crocodile pool. The museum has been improved a bit and the displays of musical instruments, jujus, masks etc. is quite interesting. The kids all patted Charlie the crocodile and took photos by the dozen.

I have a horrible feeling that this evening will be one of these “get togethers” where most people stand around a bit awkwardly and then there’s interminable dancing.

It’s been great having the group arrive: I recognise most of the pupils and they seem a great bunch, so I have every expectation of a good trip.

Now the good news: with the arrival of the group, the “virtual vellum” will still be available, but I think the “time” will be in shorter supply. I will continue to try and keep a daily blog, but I think it may be less of a saga than heretofore.

In the meantime, I’ve put some photos on the Gallery page.


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