…then two come along at once!
31st March Update
We got off to a slow start today, as we had to wait for Tosh and Dawn who had disappeared off to buy paint, but we did some rubbing down of the entrance to the hall and other places. They eventually returned with £430 worth of paint and appropriate tools.
Gambia is not the most organised place in the world. I suggested to “Aunty” Cole, the Secretarial English teacher from Sierra Leone, that some of our folk could come in and chat with her dozen or so pupils and before I knew it I was booked to take her 12 to 2pm class. This was not what I’d been thinking of – I’d been looking for ways to keep some of our folk occupied. However, when we turned up at noon, after the pre-painting rubbing down, it transpired there were House Meetings for the school’s Inter-House Sports due to take place next week and we were all allocated a House to join. Dawn, Catriona, a Megan, Rhiannon and I were placed in Mauve House and sat in on a noisy and disorganised meeting. Apart from the usual sporting events, there’s Music and Chairs, Eating Race, Lime and Spoon Race and Thug of War: more examples of Gamblish, which is what I call the local variety of English. The eating race seems to involve tackling a tapalapa and drinking a soft drink as fast as possible. We call it “gulping your food” and generally discourage it, but I think I’ve been nominated to represent Mauve House! We were called away for lunch which would be ready in 5 minutes, which stretched into an hour or thereby. Lunch was Chicken Yassa – basically barbecue-style chicken, with rice and onion “soup” – their word for sauce. I decided not to treat this as a practice race. People generally seem very happy with the standard of food.
This afternoon painting is under way and later we’re going to wander up to a local supermarket so the kids can buy munchies for Kerewan. With rumours of unrest on the streets of Banjul (wink, wink) we are keen to escape out of any potential trouble in the towns tomorrow. Let’s hope the Foreign Office don’t decide to advise all UK citizens to leave the country and also put on flights to repatriate young people. If that does happen, I guess we’ll probably also hear that the seats are limited and that it’s only the young being sent back on April the First!
Anyway, I must go and supervise the painting. Gambians do a lot of waiting and I think it’s a national hobby: it’s a shame paint dries so quickly out here as they are being done out of an opportunity to practise their pastime.
Lamin (IT) shuts down the network at 6:00 and it’s now 5:30. Given the limited speed of the network, I’d better send this post now.