Samba’s driver picks me up from the hotel, it’s sweltering at 08:45 when we leave to meet him. Samba’s main job for the day was to conduct an inspection at an oil refinery in Mandinaring. The refinery is small and isn’t up to British standards. It was hard for me to refrain from comparing our standards to those in The Gambia. There are only extinguishers to protect the work that is going on. There are no fire-hydrants & no alarms, I could go on, but I’m not here for that and Samba is professional and knows what they need. Samba will write a report and insist on these things being put in place before they can fully operate. However, things happen slowly here, and money talks. We meet with Fatima, a self-employed consultant from America with African roots, we chat about many things en-route as it’s a 45-minute drive. She has given me her details so that I can tell her our story and our mission to help the school. She hopes to help using her contacts. Some people’s generosity is overwhelming at times.
We went to the JOFI school for advice about raising funds to help with our project in The Gambia. The JOFI school http://www.jofischoolgambia.com was started by Fiona and Josef in 2009 in a mud hut with nine students. Initially, legal issues drove them out; these were centred around the landlady and high rental fees. After a lot of hard work, they ended up with a school for 185 children. This school is a clean, professional and well looked after establishment for the children. Teachers live on the grounds and sometimes have had to work for nothing. They try to teach the kids correctly, not just the academic theory but play & discipline and this is something they transfer to the parents by fining them for late pickups. They advise me on the pitfalls and positives of trying to help in The Gambia and pass on more links to people who will be able to assist us in our quest. After a long, exciting and fruitful day it is now time for a beer!