Bambo

Today has been a good one.

There was the typically Gambian chaos in the morning, as we waited. The Gambians are very good at waiting – I’m going to suggest its inclusion in next year’s Commonwealth Games. In the UK we still need the psychological prop of a “reason” for waiting: perhaps for the bus, train or even Godot. It’s different out here where it’s been raised to a whole new level and people are quite able to wait without any discernible reason and the best practitioners can do it for days.

So, after some practice at this sport, we got down to work: a squad painted the perimeter wall of the front garden, another gave the ICT lab a second coat whilst another bunch dug holes to put some washing line poles in. The welding instructor let a few of our lot have a go at welding the new poles (yes, they were wearing goggles!), which they enjoyed. Tosh had some financial business to deal with and folk were sent to get materials for some of the jobs. Pat and I spent a considerable length of time on our knees scraping paint off the IT lab floor where it had been spilled yesterday. Oh yes, a few were involved in chipping potatoes, so everyone was occupied.

Lunch was domoda: meat in a peanut sauce, with rice.

In the afternoon, we walked to Katchikally crocodile pool. This is a highlight of the trip – we get to pat crocodiles and walk past them basking in the sun, with nothing more than a foot or two of parched soil between us and them. One of the group felt a bit unwell, so a couple of them were taxied back to the centre whilst I led the remainder through the hot, dusty, smelly backstreets of Bakau to the Bakau Guest House. I mentioned this place in an earlier blog, so won’t go over it again. We enjoyed watching the fishing boats come in and Jim Lowe – one of the Gambian leaders took a few down into the market where they posed with fish. One or two beat a hasty retreat when they saw the fish being gutted.

Our evening meal was fish and chips: nicely done, though as the chips are shallow-fried in small batches they are never hot.

After tea we decided on a quiet evening though the kids went out to play hide and seek, or something similar, in the dark with the inevitable minor bruises. Pat would like all to know that she is unable to send text messages and calls are expensive. If you don’t hear from her, it’s probably because you’re not worth £1.50 a minute. Ironically, her old Nokia worked well over the previous years but her newfangled Samsung Galaxy is no use, not that she blames her family, who bought it for her.

Will try to put some photos up. Bambo is the local word for crocodile.

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