It feels like a good time to tell you about some of the exciting developments going on in Bakary Sambouya as we move towards handing the school and clinic over to the village. For the last two years we have been visiting six monthly so that we can work more closely with the village committees to explore and develop our joint ideas for the way forward. On our last visit in the Spring, Fadera, the deputy chair of the clinic management committee, came up with the idea of screening international football matches to raise money for the clinic. It seemed like a really great idea, as not only would it bring in a regular income to help pay clinic staff salaries, but also provide a much appreciated facility in the village. They researched the idea, came up with costings, and worked really hard to get set up for the start of the new football season. An old store room was identified as a suitable venue to begin in. New doors and secure windows were fitted to increase ventilation, and all the equipment purchased using a loan from the Kambeng Trust.
The idea of watching three football games simultaneously is a little beyond me, but I can report that everyone is VERY happy! A bank account has been opened and the project has started generating income from day one. This is a really exciting initiative.
For the nursery school we will continue with all our regular support until August 2019 when we have agreed that we will complete our financial commitment. A new sponsor had been identified who was willing to take over the funding, but sadly a personal tragedy has caused him to withdraw. The school committee are still hoping to find alternative funding, but if nothing materialises the plan is for the Education Department to take on the school, as nursery education is something that the Gambian government now value. We have been in contact with the department and it is a very straightforward process to hand over.
Alongside these developments all our normal activities continue:
This year we provided 475 mosquito nets. The Health Department have been running a campaign to beat malaria, and our nurse Sylvester has been very active in mobilising every area of the village to take steps to reduce the number of mosquitoes. He has held regular training events and grass clearing days, so it will be interesting to see whether there will be a reduction in malaria cases .
We really appreciate Sylvester's hard work and dedication. He does a brilliant job of managing the clinic, has increased the patient numbers and has a clear vision for the future.
We financed this upgrade to a community well which had run dry. This much needed incinerator was built in the clinic compound at the end of last year using funds provided by the Kambeng Trust.
An Education Department inspection of the school required that additional toilets should be built. There was a great collaboration devised to get the job done. The football team agreed to make the concrete blocks and dig the tank. Another group of volunteers did the building work and the Kambeng Trust funded all the materials. Great result!
This much needed incinerator was built in the clinic compound at the end of last year using funds provided by the Kambeng Trust.
On one of our visits we coincided with the handover ceremony of the new Lower Basic (junior) School building to the community, by Dutch sponsors. It was lovely that the Kambeng Trust was acknowledged for the large part we have played in the development of education in the village.
Thanks to the generosity of Electrotek Solutions in Plymouth we were able to donate four laptops to the Lower Basic School. The new building has solar power, so has none of the charging problems that we have in the nursery school which has no electricity yet. The changes since we first began the project are massive.
The village continues to grow at an incredible rate since the arrival of the tarmac road. There is still no piped water or electricity supply, but the use of solar power is making a big difference to the lives of those who can afford it. Most of the new homes springing up are luxurious by comparison to the 'old' village. Professionals are moving in and this brings an interesting shift in village dynamics.
Together with Pa our manager, Sylvester the clinic nurse is doing an amazing job in integrating the newcomers and seeking their help with community issues. They bring a wealth of skills and experience at this crucial time. They are currently forming a new association to begin further fund raising projects, in the first instance to sustain the clinic. It is so exciting to see such a different energy emerging. We thank you so much for your support and hope that you will continue with that support until such time as we have everything in place to finally hand over. We will keep you posted on the developments and let you know in advance when we are nearing the end. It is our intention at the moment that we will continue supporting the village beyond that time: to employ Pa our manager on a part time basis to ensure the smooth running of the fundraising projects, to provide school meals, help for a few individuals with disabilities, and various other things for as long as we have funds to do so.
We thank you so much for your support and hope that you will continue with that support until such time as we have everything in place to finally hand over. We will keep you posted on the developments and let you know in advance when we are nearing the end. It is our intention at the moment that we will continue supporting the village beyond that time: to employ Pa our manager on a part time basis to ensure the smooth running of the fundraising projects, to provide school meals, help for a few individuals with disabilities, and various other things for as long as we have funds to do so.