Yesterday was the big day, the container arrived and got loaded. Meanwhile it is already on the way to Hamburg / Germany and on the 25 December the ship will go to Banjul / The Gambia.
Just before completing the loading the delivery of the blackboards arrived. That was close!
Now keep your fingers crossed, that everything runs smoothly!
Thanks again to all the supporters!
After two entire weeks of endless red tape and official channels, we got the container out of the habor. It took multiple visits at the Ministery of Education, of Finance, the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), the Gambia Port Authority (GPA), the clearing and forwarding agent, Delmas Gambia, customs at the port (inspecting the cargo and so on) etc.; umpsteen letters, stamps, guarantees, signatures...
But finally we also received a duty waiver and an exemption from the demurrage that had meanwhile arisen from the delay.
The day before loading, the truck, the ministry of education intended to provide, broke down. We had already wasted two days
waiting for it and now this! Repairing it would have taken some days and because of the upcoming weekend (which starts Friday) and the preparations for the 50th Independence Day celebrations, we
would have had further delays. To avoid this, we had to go and find a truck for the next morning. We found a friendly driver and quite a good truck at a rather reasonable price at Jimpex area.
Later the driver said, if he had known before how stressful, chaotic and exhausting the procedures at the port were, he wouldn't have made the deal with us. And added: If somebody asked him again
to pick up donations from the habor, he would refuse the deal. It was his first (and obviously last) time there.
After the port staff finally lifted our container to the ground for the second time (the first was the custom's inspection a couple of days ago), we hired some guys to help us loading our truck. We were literally human forklifts, heaving up everything onto the truck manually. Some packages weighed more than 180 kg. Only the copy paper we had to remove from the two pallets and load the packets individually, since we couldn't lift the more than 750 kg, that each weighed.
After that, our truck had to be X-rayed by the port authorities, driving an X-ray-vehicle around our truck, (presumably) also distributing the radiation liberally to the people standing nearby.
Because of some more or less bizarre, time-killing events (e.g. suddenly we found our papers locked away in an office and the only owner of the key had gone to a funeral. But without these papers we were not allowed to leave the habor...), we just managed to get out of the port before closing time at 6 pm. With us, all the eagerly awaited donations...
(rough) Cargo List:
Some items were new, some in mint condition.
The truck arrived 3 am in the morning in Janjanbureh (former: Georgetown). On the way one of the tires had a puncture. Since the truck was already using its spare tires, there was no choice but to continue the journey with a flat tire. However, we're in Gambia and the situation was laid-back as usual: The other wheels carried the broken one anyway.
Thanks to a letter from the ministry of education, the truck was able to pass all the police and military check points on the way without further delay or disturbance and possible damage or loss of the donations.
The first ferry crossing the Gambia River at Janjanbureh to Lamin Koto went 8 am. It is able to carry up to 3 cars or one truck at a time. We took the first ferry with our little car, the truck had to wait for the second. From Lamin Koto it is only a rather short drive to Wassu, where the students were already eagerly waiting for us to arrive.
Some obligatory speeches were held. Afterwards the strongest boys of the Niani Upper and Senior Secondary school started to offload the truck and arrange the donations in the school yard, from where they were carried in the various school rooms for the later distribution or installation.
For all photos and descriptions, please click here!
Die Schuler und Lehrer wissen die Unterstützung äußerst zu schätzen und versprachen die bestmögliche Verwendung der Spenden.
Die schiere Menge der Sachen hat sie umgeworfen. Diese werden definitive die Lern- und Lebensbedingungen verbessern.
Watch the video here.
We were lucky to have a UN pick-up placed at our disposal. The logo on the car and the driver made it possible to get smoothly through all the police and military check points on the way to Ndoke, one of the neighboring villages of Wassu, but even more important later to Bansang. We provided Ndoke with gardening tools, fruit and vegetable seeds, clothing, stuffed animals, some footballs, solar powered desk lamps, etc.
We took clothes, shoes, footballs, stuffed animals, solar powered lamps, cooking pots and other kitchenware, first aid materials, toys, school materials etc. to Bansang. As you can
see, the children were "over-enjoying" [commonly used expression in The Gambia :o)] their toys. Videos can be found here.
The donations were distributed equitably among needy students, the computer lab was installed and the blackboards were mounted to the wall.
Video coming soon.
For further info and descriptions please open the photos here!
Representing all the donated stuffed animals:
THE JOURNEY OF THE IKEA NINKI NANKA
A Ninki Nanka is a legendary creature in West African folklore. Descriptions of the creature vary, but most contend that the animal is reptilian and possibly dragon-like.
According to tradition, the Ninki Nanka lives in the swamps of West Africa. The animal is said to be extremely large and very dangerous. It is said that when children get too confident and feel they can disobey their parents and go into the swamp they will be taken by the Ninki Nanka. This creature's tales were never recorded in any sort of non-modern text but the story of it has spread from tribe to tribe all over Africa. There is a song called "Ninki Nanka" on the album Casamance au clair de lune (1984) by the Senegalese music group Touré Kunda.
A group of "dragon hunters" from the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) went to Gambia in the summer of 2006 to investigate the Ninki Nanka and take testimony from those who have claimed to have seen the mythical creature. One interviewee who claimed to have had an encounter with a Ninki Nanka said it looked similar to an image of a Chinese dragon. The expedition, known as the "J. T. Downes Memorial Gambia Expedition 2006", received a fair amount of media attention, including coverage in a BBC Online article.
Thank you again to all the donors:
transport of the container up to Banjul and transport of Mondi copy paper to our storage
They would like to thank all the donors with some drawings they made. To see all of them - more than 80 - please click here.
Die Schüler der Niani Upper and Senior Secondary School möchten sich mit Zeichnungen bei den Spendern bedanken. Wer alle - mehr als 80 Bilder - sehen möchte, bitte hier klicken.
LED-lights for houses in Lamin and a variety of useful plants as well as vegetable and herb seeds for a couple of gardens in Lamin, Doke and Wassu.
Conquering a children's play tent.
The tent survived the attack.
The first aid course will take place on the 23 and 24 of May 2015. Mr. Momodou Laineh of First Aid 4 Gambia is going to train the 20 teachers of the Niani Upper and Senior Secondary and the Niani Primary School in Wassu.
As mentioned earlier (Dec 2014), each course is based on a 1 day (6 hours)/10 persons UK Emergency First Aid at Work course which covers
All candidates receive a certificate on successful completion of the course.
Courses are delivered by Mr. Laineh who is able to train in English, Mandinka and Wollof.
All courses are fully adapted for The Gambia.
First Aid 4 Gambia, a registered Scottish charity SCO40837, is going to train the teachers free of charge. GAMBIAid helped towards the costs for travelling and accomodation of the trainer.
Photos coming soon.
“Friday 22nd May Travelled to Wassu,although a long way drive but thank God I reached their safely around 5pm....
Saturday 23rd May,1st day training at the Niani Junior and Senior Secondary School, where the 1st set of their teachers received the training. It was 10 in number, they all did very well and went home with their certificates and some First aid gifts was also handed to the participants. It was a nice session with questions and answers at the end of the course. The School First Aid Supplies (donated by GAMBIAid) were also explained to them in order to have a know how of how to use the stuffs. The supplies available there were mainly bandages,antiseptic wash,swabs (compresses),wound dressings and thermometers.We have gone through all of them.
Sunday 24th May, was the second day of the training were 13 people attended the course. Mr Kanyi was on this set and his Deputy head was also on the session.Including Four students who were also on the course. This was also a very nice and interesting course, were it ends with questions and answer, especially epilepsy which they said its common among the girls students, snakes bites were discuss and how to handle them, nose bleeding etc.We have went through the First Aid Supplies Available with them, which is well understood by all of them. All the Participants received their certificates, some first aid gifts were also given to all of them to take home. They were very proud to received the training and promise to make best used of their skills and also commented that ,they will share their skills not at the schools alone but up to communities level.
Before I shoot back to the coast the same afternoon,the Principal gives a Wonderful thank you speech for the entire team of First Aid 4 Gambia and their supporters,and also to their sponsor (GAMBIAid) who facilitate the transport.
I drove back the same afternoon to the coast, where I arrived around 9pm in the evening, though hectic but everything went very successful.”
To see ALL photos, please click HERE!
Below some photos of the school library, the new LED light system, the FMS world maps, printers and blackboards.
Let me share a story, about how a donation can improve lives.
I heard, that meanwhile every morning the elderly people are queuing up in their frontyard to have their blood pressure measured.
They are little professionals already, coming early morning before breakfast, relaxing 15-20 minutes, so they can measure the resting heart rate, not saying a word and not moving, recording the results and adjusting their habits accordingly. They say, it really helps them to stay healthier, to have a general idea of the state of ther blood pressure and to keep track of it at no charge. In case they register health problems, they can immediately consult a doctor. They appreciate this device a lot.
The principal received 20 printer cartidges for the Brother ink jet printer and a print head cleaner. Due to possible customs restrictions in Gambia, we couldn't risk to take more this time. Next time, we are going to bring along some more cartidges for the other printers.
Principal Momodou Kanyi is thanking the generous donors.
In September and October, one of our association members travelled to Gambia and took some material with him:
She seems to have an infection, which is going to be treated first. We have to clarify the general condition of her eyes as well, as they look different. If they can't treat her in Bansang, where
she lives, we are going to take her to Kanifing, where a specialist is informed already.
If anyone has an idea or knows advice, please let me know.