On Sunday 5th September, a Greggs team comprising 11 cyclists and 4 runners took part in the Wolverhampton half marathon to raise funds for the Hilary Emery nursery school in Talinding.
The team managed to raise £3,200 (including gift aid) which was a fantastic achievement.
AoT directors James and Alan were later invited to the Greggs bakery to receive the cheque from Antonia Ermoyenous, Ian Bagnal and Steve Emery on behalf of all the Greggs participants and sponsors.
Alan & James receive the cheque from Antonia and Steve.
Helpers make up the Greggs 'goodie bags' for all the half marathon participants.
Steve helps to issue the bags.
Some of the Greggs team get ready for the off!
Ian Bagnal, Jane Salacinski and Steve take a well-earned break after their efforts!
By Alan Dick, Trust Director - see previous posts for first two extracts.
Monday 13th December
Our last project visit is Gunjur. The last time I was here, the school was just a shell, quite literally. But what a transformation! The 3 classrooms were a joy to behold and every bit of praise should go to Ali and Kira for all their efforts.
We also visited the small onsite clinic, which we created in the grounds of the lower basic school. This facility means so much to me, as it was only possible because of the generosity of my former employees at Greggs in the midlands.
It was their kindness on the occasion of my retirement that funded this project. Again we have managed to create a small, yet hugely important resource which is appreciated by all the staff and pupils.
Tuesday 14th December
Time to say a few fond farewells and reflect on a week which again seems to have flown by. We board the plane and arrive back late at night to be greeted by miserable Birmingham weather (rain and + 2 degrees), but at least it wasn’t snowing!
Reflections? Humbling, always. Uplifting, absolutely. Rewarding, definitely.
I return, completely reassured, that what we (the African Oyster Trust) are doing, is making a tangible, substantial and positive difference to the lives of many people in the Gambia.
Alan J. Dick
By Alan Dick, Trust Director - see previous post for first extracts
Thursday 9th December
Off to Jappineh (central Gambia) for my first visit to see the nursery school and clinic. Kira did warn us about the condition of the road – half the distance was tarmac, but the remainder was Africa in the raw viz. dirt tracks with many potholes and diversions! I had the ‘luxury’ of sitting in the front whilst Kira did her impersonation of rallying at its best! We stayed in the Moses hostel, Soma, which just happened to be hosting the Gambian equivalent of a rock festival that evening – an interesting experience, but not much sleep.
Friday 10th December
What another delight and what a welcome at the Jappineh nursery school!
Their appreciation of what we have done and indeed their effection was so apparent, and so very humbling. However, we badly need a 3rd. classroom – Kira has plans (as always!) and this could be our next project.
In the afternoon, we visited the clinic. Although I’ve seen many pictures of this facility, I had to experience it to believe it – I was blown away.
In the middle of nowhere, here we have an operation, which quite simply cares for people and saves lives, where nothing existed before. Ansoumana, the doctor, is a revelation, working 24/7, 365 days a year looking after the people of his village and surrouding ones as well (boy does he deserve a break!) The day culminated in a meeting with all the village elders, chiefs and the like (there must have been circa 150 people in attendance). Speechifying was the order of the day and fortunately Ansoumana was on hand to translate the Mandinka language for us. What came out above all else was their very genuine gratitude and overriding desire to work together to ensure the longevity of this project. However, the ‘piece de resistance’ was at the end when Steve and I were made honorary citizens of the village of Jappineh! They have very little, yet had made the effort to wrap and present Gambian shirts to both Steve and myself to mark the occasion – that moment will last a lifetime!
And finally…….to conclude the day, a special display of Gambian dancing from the ladies of Jappineh village – truly amazing!