It may not be some people’s idea of ‘paradise’

Life Award 2013

27th January 2014

Final breakfast overlooking the river – sunrise is fantastic. Stroll up to the hospital chatting to locals all the way.

Review meeting with Baba Jeng – Watson led the feedback on what we had found and what we recommended. Mark followed with a description of what we found in relation to the electrical installations. Watson and Mark describe the potential areas where BPEC may be able to help but we need to report to the board of trustees and then make decisions.

Once again we are thanked for our support and advice and everyone expressed their hope that we would return to Bansang.

Watson and Dave planned to carry out some more maintenance work with the plumbers and collected the appropriate materials from the store however, the lead plumber had to return to his compound as his elder had died and the other plumbers could not be located.

Mark was installing another PIR sensor on the light under the walkway to the laundry, store and kitchen. Dave helped.

01455ff429db1e7fc090dc38100458e7e2be4bb8baBy the time we had finished it was 12 noon, the time we had planned to leave for the coast, however we had a request to wait as the Regional Governor, Governor Touray wanted to meet us. The meeting took place in Baba Jeng’s office and we had to update the Governor on what we had found, done and hoped to do in the future.

He said that he intended to make a presentation in parliament to encourage further government investment by describing BPEC’s contribution to Bansang Hospital.

After lunch we return to Paradise to collect our luggage and are given a wonderful send-off by Mr Fatti. It may not be some people’s idea of ‘paradise’ but we were more than happy staying here.

On the way to Banjul we stop just outside Bansang at the Scololo Basic Cycle Primary school where prize giving is taking place. Once again the welcome is overwhelming and the pride shown by the pupils who receive prizes is a delight to see.

We discuss schooling in Bansang with the head and learn that the school has 760 pupils split into morning and afternoon groups. Although the split is not even, roughly half attend school from 8am to 1pm and the other half from 1.30pm to 6.30pm.

We learn that that school’s wind driven water pump has broken and a hand pump is now used to bring up water from the well which causes problems for watering the garden used to teach the children about basic food cropping.

We eventually reach Banjul after dark and on the way to our accommodation Sutay (Semas) calls at his home to introduce us to his family and his 1 week old daughter (Anita).

We find it difficult to understand how Sutay can reconcile his life in two small rooms without running water and electricity with the ‘luxury’ of Luigi’s where he drops us off among lots of other well lit and coloured light and fountain decorated buildings. It is like arriving in Disneyworld after the Gambia we have spent the last 5 days in.

We have a discussion about what we have missed whilst in Bansang apart from our families and the unanimous answer is nothing! But it is so surprising at Luigi’s how quickly we get used to hot water, regular electricity and the internet again!