By Rob Bagnall
When I was considering what I wanted to pursue after I left university, I felt that a career in economic development would be one of the most exciting and rewarding areas of work I could be in. However, I didn't really know an awful lot about the sector, and because of this I wanted to visit a developing country and witness the current conditions individuals are facing, and during December of 2011, the African Oyster Trust provided me with an exciting opportunity to find out about the work they do in the Gambia.
During my stay, Kira showed me the amazing facilities the charity had set up and were running, including all the nursery schools, the Greggs clinic in Gunjur and the Medical facility in Jappineh. My stay in the country significantly changed my view of thinking the bigger a charity is the better, as I was amazed by how much a small charity can significantly impact the lives of so many people. The amount I learned whilst staying with Kira in that short space of time was a lot more than how much I would learn during a whole year of studying, and my time with the charity has made me want to pursue this career even more!
Given the amazing experience I had in the Gambia, I was passionate about raising money to contribute to the great projects the African Oyster Trust are running, and running the Bath Half Marathon was a great opportunity to do so. Raising the money was relatively easy given that the African Oyster Trust is listed on the Charity Choice directory, meaning that I could create my own web page to keep track of how much money I had raised and who had sponsored me.
Although training for the race was pretty difficult, given the bitter winter we just experienced, raising money for the African Oyster provided me with the motivation to put in the extra sessions in the run up to the race. On the day itself, Bath was packed with spectators cheering us on and thousands of people were participating in the race itself, I had never seen Bath so busy! Given this massive turn-out, I was so pleased I was participating in the event and was very happy with my finishing time of 1 hour and 40 minutes!
More importantly though, the race was a great opportunity to raise money for this amazing charity, and I would like to day thank you to all those who supported me and contributed to the £606 I raised as a result of this race.
It is more than likely that I will be taking part in the Bath Half Marathon in the future, and according to him my Dad will be joining me (I’ll believe it when I see it!). If this is the case, I hope I can raise even more money for the great work that the African Oyster Trust is part of in the Gambia.
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The news diary is written by a number of people close to the work of the African Oyster Trust, including founder James Holden, his co-directors, trustees and volunteers.