Sweet Dreams

Wednesday morning
After breakfast, while the Gambians were behaving like Primary 3 pupils and getting excited about the sports, I conveniently – and genuinely – fell asleep. When I woke about 10:30, the Scottish group had gone. I must admit I made no effort to get to the sports field under my own steam, as I decided this was a sign from Allah that I should not go. Allah Akhbar!

Last night I nearly killed Tosh by accident. We had both retired to our beds in the same room when I became aware of a mosquito or two buzzing about (we haven’t bothered with a net). I said to Tosh I’d get the mozzy spray and blast the room and he said that was OK. However, it caused him to have an horrendous attack of coughing and wheezing – it may have been in conjunction with his asthma – and eventually he was sick. He was very good-natured about it and laughs about it now.

There are a few obstacles to using the Internet here. The electricity is more reliable than it used to be, but even so there are generally two or three power cuts a day. They are generally quite short, but unlike a lightbulb, computers and wireless routers don’t just come back on again when power is restored. The server is in the Computer Lab and this year no-one has thought to let me have a key, so access to it – and the server – is limited to working hours, assuming the staff are actually here. The wireless router is in another room and similar limitations apply. Even when both server and router are functioning, transmission speeds are very slow and the connection often drops. As I’ve missed the sports and the IT teacher is there supporting his “kunda”, I may get some exercise by walking up to an Internet cafe to post some of this stuff.
I met Emma, whom I mentioned yesterday, today.
As work here is almost finished, I’ll end this post with a list of what I think we’ve done or enabled out here. I may forget some items, but here’s the gist:

· Provide paint for both interior and exterior of Hall (the Hall is a money-raiser as the let it out for functions)
· Paint the front and one end of the hall (the Larbert group are to do the remaining painting, I think)
· Leave money to buy materials for complete refurbishment of Hall – curtains, repair / replacement of roof.
· A little light weeding in the onion patches.

· Patch and repair workshop walls prior to exterior decoration
· Paint exterior of workshop block. A mix of DIY and paying for Roland Brush(!) to do skilled work and supervise
· Create gateway in concrete block perimeter wall (“fence” in Gamblish)
· Fund mahogany for Abass to make solid interior doors in the workshop block.
· Buy materials for concrete pillars to support gates and help hang the gates (made in metalwork, Bakau)
· Create basic driveway into and through new gates.

The first Internet cafe I entered, I stood chatting to the staff and had my photo taken with a large Gambian lady. When it seemed the right moment, I suggested that I’d like to use a computer.

“There is no light.” 

“Do you think it will be off for a long time?”

“Maybe around seven, but you can wait”

As it was about midday and I’m not licensed for that level of waiting, I got directions to another Internet cafe.

“I’d like to use a computer”

“There is no light, but you can wait. It may come back. Do you remember me?”

I didn’t, but he was genuine and had met me a couple of years ago when acting as a reporter for a local newspaper. I recall he tried to tap me for support to study in the UK. He also remembered and briefly raised the topic again. Luckily the return of the power diverted us both.


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