This afternoon we’re going to Bijilo Monkey Park as Abuko has had its animals removed. After that, we will continue to Lamin Lodge: by dinner time, everybody should have had enough monkeys to last them a lifetime.
10th April Early evening
Although I will try to continue, this may be my last blog. Friday here is a non-working day in official government offices, such as the PIA, and it will only take one blip in the power to disable the router and server to disable connections, unless the IT teacher and account both come in so the system can be reset. It’s unlikely that these three stars will be in conjunction.
We are now completely monkeyed out, having watched them cavort, hand fed them and even encouraged them to climb over some of us. Donnie reckons that this has been the best experience of his life, saying that Christmas and Birthdays are always a disappointment, but this exceeded his expectations. His parents should take this as a warning! He laughingly agreed life could only go downhill from now on. Lamin Lodge, a rickety wooden multi-floored structure surrounded on by mangrove swamps and a “bolong” (tributary / bay) of the River Gambia was also very popular. Not only is it picturesque and “ethnic”, but there were more monkeys.
Tonight is a special occasion. A big semi-formal dinner is to be held in the Hall primarily for various Dutch auto-mechanics who are coming to the end of their placement here in Bakau and various other sites. However, there will be a lot of people here: not just the Dutch, but also the two Scottish groups. It’s a three-course meal – the first such meal I’ve ever had. In The Gambia, that is: Mrs M sometimes provides an equivalent in Scotland. The only snag is the inevitable lengthy speeches in Gamblish.
Tomorrow the IRA kids are going on home visits, the three staff are invited to lunch at Rohey and Saikou’s new house and then we all go to the beach for a barbecue.
Just back from an amazingly good meal: courses 1&2 were served together, consisting of fish, prawns, salad, couscous, salad… Dessert was ice cream and banana fritters. Tosh, Dawn and I were on the high table, as were the Larbert leaders and the head of the Dutch “Go for Africa” team and various dignitaries. We got to be served first, but it meant we were nearest the Gambian drum band, who were on the stage. This was a mixed blessing as the band were deafeningly loud and inexhaustible, but it meant we got a good view of the frenetic dancing mostly performed by three local lovelies. Last year a Gambian Muslim cleric blamed the drought on “sexy dancing”: I think he must have seen this troupe!
The Scots were dragged onto the stage to join the fray and, to be honest, didn’t do too badly. I lurked in a corner of the Hall.
Anyway, it looks like there’s still network access so Good Night and, possibly, Good Bye.