Bad Pennies

Yesterday’s Gambian Blast from the Past who has been reappointed wasn’t the only rather unwelcome arrival. Today (Tuesday) Mousa turned up. For those of you who have been unable to read previous years’ entries, I’ll do a quick resumé. Under the previous regime, the Rhun Palm Inn was managed by a very likable layabout called Mousa. The interim management were keen to clear out deadwood and make a clean start: the writing was on the wall for Mousa and several of us – Gambians and Scots – tried to get him to buck his ideas up. We introduced him to the idea of “snagging” once a week; I spent considerable effort trying to set up computerised management systems using Excel and Access and showing him how to use them. I showed him how to wire a plug and pointed out that bare live wires sticking out of the restaurant walls were not acceptable, let alone using them to hot-wire a kettle. Compared with the present incumbent, Malang, Mousa was a laughable disaster. It’s a shame as he’s a llikableguy with a wife and family to support. When he got the boot from here he eventually got a waiting job in one of the main tourist hotels, but is not working there now (reason not given, though he commented adversely on the fights and drunkenness of the clientele). I genuinely like him, but he’s his own worst enemy and his departure was a clear sign of a new broom in the management.
Emma, the Treasurer of Gamscot, arrives tonight and will be staying in a hotel not far from here.
The trip to the market at Serrekunda elicited a variety of responses. I’d been busy with Malang and didn’t go, but the kids’ reactions varied from “great” to “it stank” and I think most were a bit overwhelmed by everything that was going on. Back from Serrekunda, the kids were entertained for a while by Buba Jobe on the djembe. I may try to post a video clip of this, but I don’t rate my chances of success very highly given the unreliability of the network out here.
At the moment it’s Tuesday evening and tomorrow the Larbert bunch will turn up only to be turfed out into the Friendship Hotel across the road from here. Our base is over the road from the International Stadium which was built in the 60s or 70s by the Chinese: you could guess that by the brutalist concrete grandstand and by the name of the associated hotel which I’ve never been in, but which looks grubby, sordid, dilapidated and misnamed. At least the Larbertese(?), Larberters or Larbertonians will only be there a couple of nights as they will go Kerewan a little early and we’ll be gone when they get back.
It looks as though I will have no choice but go to the bl**dy sports tomorrow. I had hoped to use Malang’s MS Access tutorial as an excuse, but the PIA’s Inter House Sports “Organising” Committee (a misnomer if there ever was one) want me as their link man in the Inverness group. First we were told each Scottish person was to pay GmD200 (about £3.50) towards the sports, then another figure of 50p was given, then 60p. I eventually went to the Committee chairman for clarification and was told it was up to each individual to decide what to donate. Apparently the sports are due to start at 10:30 (ha,ha!) and should be over at “2, maybe 3” (ha,ha,ha!).
As the trip approaches its conclusion we are looking back at what we’ve achieved and forward at the plans for the next few days: sports tomorrow (Wed), last bits of touching up paintwork Thursday morning followed by Abuko National Park and Lamin Lodge for monkeys in the afternoon and a dinner in our honour in the evening. Friday should be home visits followed by a barbecue on the beach. A long time ago, we had a music teacher in the IRA called Fred Short, one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. Fred has been dead for many years, but his daughter lives in The Gambia and his grand-daughter currently attends the IRA. Fred’s daughter may be joining us for the barbecue and I’m looking forward to meeting her as is Dawn, who teaches the girl. Saturday will be a free day and then Sunday we come home.


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