The traditional local bread is called tapalapa and it’s handmade. It’s good: a bit like French bread but without the crust, so rather chewier. There is also locally-made senfu, which is machine-made. What I’m now getting for breakfast is known as tapalapa senfu apparently – some combination of the two – and very nice it is with butter, jam and three cups of coffee. Previous visitors will be interested to hear the milk is now served in a little jug, though it’s still out of a tin.
Speaking of small improvements, I’ve several times seen Malain picking up litter and binning it even when he thought he was unobserved.
By only ten o’clock the day was already proving more exciting than yesterday. I had barely – literally – staggered from my bed than Rohey knocked on the door. She, along with the other Youth Leaders, is involved in a meeting today. It was good to see her again, along with all the others.
I decided to risk a shower before breakfast: there was a bit more water than I feared, but no pressure to speak of. It was colder than I’d have hoped as well.
After breakfast, the white car I should have been picked up in on Friday arrived with Roddy Ross and three others from the UK. They are here partly to deliver today’s training to an assemblage of school reps for the Award scheme. I was right that the car from the Ministry wasn’t a stretch limo with a flag: a very serviceable white Land Cruiser did the honours.
After a chat with Roddy and his colleagues, I had a blether with Saikou and Abass, who turned up much to my pleasure. This led to me meeting with Sainey Drammeh the new Chief Executive. He seems concerned that there should be transparency in terms of organisation and finance. I’m told that the various revenue-raising arms of the PIA – woodwork under the supervision of Abass, the Motel under Malain etc. – are financially viable and raising money for the organisation. Indeed, I was shown the refurbishments in the IT suite, paid for by funds the PIA has raised. Currently, they are almost finished rewiring and are awaiting a quote from a fourth ISP bidder. The computers are being moved to a central bank of desks / tables being built by Abass’ crew. The short-term result is that there is no network access here at the moment, so I’ll need to go to an Internet cafe in order to communicate. This will be a bit of a pain and I imagine that Skyping home will be out of the question, but it’s in a good cause. The timescale is to get the suite running in time for the Scottish groups coming out. The fact that the PIA are able to pay for this themselves is a great sign of development. There is even talk of wirelessly connecting the IT classroom and the motel, but that may prove too expensive I guess.
Sainey, the CE was generous in praise of his staff and it is indeed great to see these people who have previously often worked unpaid to see their efforts evaporate: they are still committed and still optimistic, turning up today – Sunday, a day off – to work at the PIA.
It’s now mid afternoon and no doubt the rest of the day will be filled with all sorts of excitement, but I’ve wandered up to an Internet cafe, so I’ll get these posts uploaded now.