Monday, 28 April 2008

The best laid plans ...

Sorry for not posting for a while. The plan was that I would be in The Gambia and Joyce would be completing the claim for Gift Aid here at home. Neither came to pass. Joyce drove me to the airport last Monday. We had breakfast, I went into Departures and she drove home. She nearly got there - she crashed as she drove into the road where we live, passed out and wasn't found for an hour. Rescued by paramedics she remained unconscious in hospital for 24 hours.
Meanwhile, I boarded the 'plane which took off almost on time. Ten minutes into the flight the captain announced that we would be returning to Manchester because the computer had developed a fault. We circled around for a while to burn fuel and returned to earth about an hour after leaving it. The fault could not be repaired so we prepared to change planes. I 'phoned my daughter to inform her of this delay just before my brother-in-law called her to find how he could reach me in The Gambia!
Long and short is that he collected me and drove me to the hospital. Strange how things work out.
J is still in hospital, recovering well.
As a footnote my baggage, which should have been taken off the plane, did make the journey to Banjul, and I was able to arrange for a Gambian friend to collect the cases and distribute the contents.

Friday, 18 April 2008

The kindness of friends.

Wonderful day; friends have filled in Gift Aid declarations, enabling us to claim 28% extra on their donations through the year. I received gifts of pencils & books for the schools, letters for children and teachers, offers of medical supplies and a very welcome large donation.
The mountain of goodies in the spare bedroom is slowly finding its way into suitcases and when all the donations and gifts are packed I'll try to fit in my spare clothes for the trip!
I never know if I should thank people by name in this blog but those I've suggested it to have declined to be named. Thanks, people; you know who you are.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Up to date.

Taking a break from the Gift Aid claim to visit our daughter in Oxfordshire. (Yes, she is sponsoring a student!) Last minute visit to our favourite coffee shop produced some lovely knitted bonnets for babies (thanks, Iris!) Getting into panic mode with preparations for my trip - Bless Thomson Air for the extra 20kg of baggage. Phone call from The Gambia suggests that Alagie will get his operation. Maybe. Fingers crossed. Any questions? and we'll try to answer.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Good news Monday!

While most of our efforts concern the young lad with the infected leg - the local doctors being quite good at writing reports that agree he needs treatment but not fixing a date for his operation - other matters are going well. The school in Bundung has at last been connected to the water mains. Fresh water on tap after a delay of about eighteen months. We have also raised the money for a young family in another village to make a start on their own small house.
The two students we sponsor, one on Lodz, Poland, and the other in Kampala are doing well.
Our local GP & Travel Clinic are giving good advice as is our wonderful Pharmacist in Warrington who has been most helpful researching inexpensive solutions to some of the Gambian health problems we have presented him with. Good news Monday indeed. Later today we go to the Writers Group meeting with crossed fingers for more good news! Just failed to load some pictures from Picasa but, as you see, failed again!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Value of the pound is sinking

Bit of a problem with money. Twelve months ago we could get 50 Gambian dalasi to the pound. Now it's down to just 37. This means everything costs us more and donations have lost 26% of their value. This in turn means that the Gift Aid we can claim at 28% just about cancels out the lost value of the pound rather than acting as a bonus. Still, that's life and we cross our fingers and hope for a return to former times. It's a bit embarrassing to have to tell friends who have agreed to sponsor a student that the amount they happily agreed on is now inadequate. Happily most people have been very understanding. G.O.E.S. promises to make sure that none of the students suffers - we'll just have to try a bit harder. Grumble over!