Sunday, 4 June 2017

More peop[le die in London

Sad news again, At least 6 more deaths of people killed indiscriminately as they went about their business. Men, women, regardless of age, belief or ethnicity, mown down, and dozens more, wounded, crippled, lives changed, robbed of happiness and health.
Sad news, which has prompted lots of our Gambian Muslim friends to worry about our safety and the well-being of our friends here in England. They seek to comfort us, to say over and over again that this atrocity is not committed in their name, and not in the name of their religion. They ask the same question as we do - 'Why do these people do this thing?'
We remind them that they are our friends, we know they care for us and that we love them and feel safe in their company. We know they are good people and we do not hold them in any way responsible for such atrocities.
May there be peace, good health, long life, and happiness.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Charity books!

Felt a little shocked today - looking round a local charity shop I found a couple of the Malinding Village books on sale :-) Granted that they won't contribute to GOES but if their new readers happen to enjoy them and are tempted buy the rest of the series from Amazon African children can benefit. The charity shop these particular books are in supports English children who need help so that's a good outcome anyway.
GOES is plodding on - we've sent money to a couple of Gambian village clinics and paid the school fees of several young students

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Fingers crossed again for Gift Aid!

We've celebrated another birthday each, had a bit of a rest, eaten some great meals (Domoda not available here though - more's the pity :-( )
We've kept GOES ticking over: you're helping students young and old continue their education, from student midwives to first year nursery children, We've ensured that Mandinari Village Clinic is supplied with medical necessities and Banjul Hospital with paper for printing patient records. We've helped repair damaged house (weather damage not riotous mobs!) and coasted along for a while.
We are aware that we're not getting younger. Can't see us as 'old' but some days it's a close thing! Obviously, sooner or later, we'll have to wind GOES down. We've seen the country grow from a dictatorship to a democracy. It will take a while for changes to come, remembering that the outgoing President is alleged to have taken a liberal amount of cash with him. The new man aims to have universal free education for all, clean water for the population, and decent sanitation. It all costs money but we trust good things will start to happen. I guess we can hang around for another year, another visit, another chance to see for ourselves how things are going.
We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in The Gambia. We have met wonderful people, funny, beautiful children and we have been privileged to see many of them complete their studies and gain qualifications. We have also seen others who, tragically did not survive. Today's paper foretells that Malaria will be wiped from Africa in the next few years. I wish we could do more.
The cheering thought is that every tourist charter plane that lands at Banjul Airport carries a hundred, maybe more, passengers bringing pencils for schools, blackboard paint, paracetamol tablets for clinics, old reading glasses, money, water filters, clothing - all for distribution. And they, like us, will carry home memories of chatting with friends, drinking Ataya and feasting on Benechin and Domada.
Yes, another year, I hope. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Kindle Paperbacks

I'm in trouble again! My attempts to convert 'Girl on Wheels' and 'Empty Bananas' into paperbacks seems to have come unstuck - no fault of the very kind people who have been helping me, all my own fault. I managed to obtain 5 copies of Girl before it vanished but Bananas seems to have sunk without trace! Fingers crossed some angel will wave an electronic wand (e-wand?) and all will be well. I'm 81, so I'd like something to happen fairly soon .... something good!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Life goes on.

I hope life is calming down for all my friends after the change of president. The new man seems to have the interests of the Gambian people at heart, and that must be good. The communication systems seem to be functioning again, and the transfer of money is back to normal. Schools are open and education and health care appear to be carrying on effectively.
The students we support have returned to their studies and we have stopped worrying about the welfare of our friends for a while.
GOES is creaking back into action. The bank balance is growing, slowly buy certainly. In another month we'll be putting in our annual claim for Gift Aid - that's the return of tax paid on money which has been donated to us. True, we're a small charity but we are registered for Gift Aid and that money makes a tremendous contribution to the work we do.
Another volume has been added to the Malinding village saga. 'Girl on Wheels' was published in e-book form on Kindle and will soon be available as a paperback. Empty Bananas is almost converted to paperback and in time all the village books will be available as either e-books or paperbacks. Many thanks to Nicholas who set me on the path to publication and sorted out a host of problems with patience.
It really is time I sorted out some photographs for this blog. My skill set has a long way to go!
Belated best wishes to you all, live long and proper.
Tom.

Monday, 23 January 2017

I don't know what it's like ...

When I was three years old war started. I didn't notice, at first. When shrapnel started to fall through the roof I did. Shrapnel? Jagged bits of twisted metal. about the size of a mobile 'phone. I collected them and stored them in a metal biscuit box. I kept it for years in case the Army wanted the bits back. When I was a bit older I watched the fighter and bomber planes high overhead, heading for Liverpool docks. We saw the flashes in the sky across Pex Hill at the back of our house.
Mr Churchill was our hero, struggling to defend us. Then came peace, with church bells and oranges, shortly to be followed by chocolate and bananas.
Mr Atlee was our hero, making sure that everyone who needed medical treatment got it.
By then I started school. It never occurred to me that going to school, and later, to college, cost money. My dad paid his taxes and the taxes paid the bills.
I learned you could grumble about the government and anything else you might want to grumble about. It was called 'Free Speech'. I joined in, at Speaker's Corner, in London. I got booed but nobody arrested me or shot at me. I stood for election to the Parish Council. I got five votes. Free speech and Democracy. I still didn't get arrested.
I suppose my parents worried a bit about me; it's what parents do.
Then I discovered Africa. Well, not quite true; Africa had never been lost. Come to think of it, it's where human life started. If you're reading this you'll guess the bit of Africa I discovered.
Over the years I came to know some of the people quite well. I like to think that they trusted me, and as the years went by some of them started to grumble. They grumbled about a government which 'disappeared' people, imprisoned them, executed them. I learned to know why a conversation might suddenly change from politics to weather or the price of rice. I learned to look away when a convoy of military vehicles roared past, ferrying 'that man' from the State House to the airport.
And yesterday, when 'that man' had flown into exile, I wept as a young friend said
'I am happy because my son will not be growing up in a dictatorship.'
I hadn't properly understood till that moment just how fortunate I've been during my 80 years.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Free book!

Jodie has decided that her autobiography, Girl on Wheels, available from Amazon Kindle books, should go on free offer from 13/01/2017 for five days. She thought that with her luck the 13th might be a good starting point!
We are impressed by her generosity but would like to remind you that the charity, GOES (Gambian Occasional Emergency Support) does depend for much of its income on the sales of this and other books in the Malinding Village series.
Perhaps when you have enjoyed Jodie's first book you could post friendly reviews? It might just encourage her to write volume two!
Of course, if you don't want to wait until the 13th you might perhaps just feel reckless and buy the book? (Don't tell her I suggested this, you know what she's like when annoyed! Well, you will if you read the book. Hank still trembles!)