Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings to all friends of G.O.E.S!

We've had good news - thanks to you:

The little boy who needs treatment for his eye has arrived, with his mum, in Dakar and will be examined tomorrow.

 The young woman who needs expert medical care is there already and has started a course of treatment.

Thanks to M.RP for her donation.

May we wish all our friends, of every race and creed, Good Health, Long Life, and Happiness.
Tom & Joyce

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Mrs Jobarteh at work

  1. 1)Mrs Jobartey smiles her thanks to Barclay's Bank for their gift of pens to the children of her school.
2) Tom delivers medical supplies to the clinic at Mandinari. Thanks to members of VRWG and the Forge Medical Centre at Stockton Heath.

3) Even a tin of paint to decorate a school can make people happy!

4) Joyce finds another baby to play with! (We did make sure she went back to her mum - the baby, that is!)

5) Tom's pleased - some of the pictures actually landed on the blog! They visited Facebook first though ...

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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Humanitarian Aid ?

A friend recently offered this heading as a fair description of what GOES does. Somehow, it's not as I see it. 'Humanitarian Aid' suggests to me the emergency evacuation of thousands of people from a place devastated by war or natural disaster. It's the territory of OXFAM or the Red Cross or any of a thousand huge organisations.
GOES is just a group of family and friends who raise what money they can to help a few families in urgent need in a tiny African country. The fact that we can't do more doesn't stop us doing what we can. We've been going for a few years and I think people trust us. Donate £X and that amount of money will go directly to a person who needs it. Nothing is deducted for 'expenses' - we pay those ourselves.
We also donate a proportion of our pensions to the charity. We don't know all the answers - we don't understand many of the questions, such as why the place where human life started should be one of the poorest places on our beautiful planet today? Having to say 'No, sorry we can't help' is the hardest part. We never promise what we can't deliver.
Our New Year resolution is to keep on trying.
PS - I'm still trying to load those pictures!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Back home and back to work!

Thanks to all our Gambian friends, old and new, for making this a very special visit. Thanks to our supporters, old and new, here in the UK, for making this possible. This report is going to be a bit of a list;
We replaced a leaking fresh water tap at a clinic;
We presented the medical gifts, donated by family, friends and our local GP surgery to 1) The Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital at Banjul and 2) the village clinic at Mandinari (which also helps hundreds of patients from surrounding villages.
We provided paint to decorate a village school.
We offered financial support so a young woman with breast cancer can travel to Dakar for treatment.
We have offered similar help to the family of a 13month old boy who has been diagnosed as having retinoblastoma (? Sp?)
We gave help to a gentleman in need of a replacement artificial leg.
Remember the girl you provided with a wheelchair earlier this year? She's scooting round the family compound happily. We'll provide her with a zimmer frame so she can move round inside her house more easily.
We gave money to provide transport to hospital for two people from the same family; a teen age girl with a very bad cut on her hand and her grandfather, suffering from prostate and chest pains. Both doing well.
Paid school fees for a couple of dozen students, ages ranging from 7 to 20+.
Provided mosquito nets.
Helped an out of work family with a little capital to set up a firewood stall in their local market.
Provided a grant to provide an irrigation system for the 'garden' of a large compound. (Vegetable garden!)
Taught Eng Lang by text message to a student with an exam to pass (Eng Lang was the only barrier between her and acceptance on an SRN course ...)
Provided basic educational needs to several schools (thanks to Stockton Heath branch of Barclay's Bank for 600 Biro pens!)
Pictures follow ASAP - I was using a new mobile 'phone/camera and made a mess of some of the shots.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Sorry - still no photographs!

I did try, honestly I did. I managed to send a picture of the spare bed hidden under a mass of carrier bags filled with goodies for The Gambia to my Facebook page but I failed miserably to post it to this site - I need a bright ten year old child as assistant!
 Visited the Travel Clinic for jabs today and chatted to the nurse about The Gambia - her bro-in-law has been out twice raising money for the street children. A couple of hours later this same nurse rang us at home to say she's collected some medical gear for us to take out to the clinic! People are so kind - I must remember to thank my daughter for her kind contribution to GOES this week.
Somehow we failed to get an extra baggage allowance from Thomas Cook this time so we have a problem with what to take and what to leave for next time - can I manage with just one shirt, one pair of socks etc. for a fortnight?
 Really looking forward to visiting the schools, the clinics and the homes of our friends again. Why are there no West African eating places in Cheshire? It's a disgrace! I have to be satisfied imagining Shrimps Domoda! Looking forward to my first sip of Malta ...
Bye for now!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Stories for Gambian Children - and others! Free from Saturday.

Hi. Title says it all - Yesterday I promised the 'Empty Bananas' new & revised edition, would soon be on free offer to compensate all those who kindly purchased the first (and terrible) edition. Sorry; it has to be published for 90 days before I can make a free offer. So, as a slight compensation, I'm offering 'Stories for Gambian Children' free, for 5 days, from Saturday 23/11/13.
 Still haven't managed to post any pictures directly from the borrowed camera! I think I'd better return it to the owner before I break it!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Really must do some packing soon!

For the first time in years we haven't received an extra baggage allowance from Thomas Cook. THIS GIVES US A BIT OF A PROBLEM - WHAT DO WE LEAVE BEHIND? It's a headache. People have been very generous again and the spare bed is swamped with donations. Clothes, educational materials and medical equipment. We would like to take some odds and ends for ourselves, too! It's surprising how quickly 20kg mounts up. We have a ritual of weighing everything on the bathroom scales, remembering to include the weight of the suitcases.
 I have been given the loan of one of these new phones which not only can take pictures but can send them to blogs and web-sites and whatever. I'd been perfectly happy for years (and years and years) with my old Nokia - it was just a phone (oh, and it could turn into a torch, very handy on a dark night in a village!). This phone has survived rainy seasons, being dropped, being generally ill-treated, but now it's starting to fall apart. The keyboard bit is detaching itself from the rest of the phone and it's lost part of its memory (it's not the only one!)
 So I have a loan of one of these new (how new?) multi-purpose phones. So far I've learned to switch it on. If and when I learn how to take and send pictures I will 1) post some on here, just to show off, and 2) set about finding a similar camera for myself.
 Oh, and a big 'thank you' to Barclay's Bank for the gift of lots of pens - should keep a couple of schools happy!
 I've not posted on here for a while because I've been busy re-writing 'Empty Bananas' - the first of the Malinding series of books. The original version was a disgrace, I'm ashamed to say. The new edition is much improved (so I'm told) and will soon be on free offer for a few days on Kindle. I hope you enjoy it and that it encourages you to buy the other books in the series. All money from the sales goes to GOES and then on to The Gambia.
 Thanks for reading this - I know I ramble on!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Carry on!

Heavens, I was down when I wrote that last page! True, these things have to be faced but not just yet - see what Manflu can do to a soul!
Today is a better day. been chatting to Gambian friends about schools and clinics. A friend sent a photo of her daughter, a beautiful little girl, happy and healthy.
Barclays Bank in Stockton Heath, presented me with hundreds of pens to distribute to schoolchildren when we arrive there in November (it's November already and we still haven't packed!)
I've been bust re-editing 'Empty Bananas' after withdrawing the book from sale on Kindle. There were too many mistakes, so when the new edition goes on sale again at Christmas it should be a much better buy! (In the mean-time you can still purchase the other books in the Malinding series. All income from the sales goes directly into the GOES bank account.)
We've written to the chief medical officer at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in Banjul about material we've been given - thanks, people, you know who you are!
Haven't heard yet from Thomas Cook about extra baggage allowance but our fingers are firmly crossed!
Must sort out the Travel Insurance, buy another suitcase - the zips have give up the will to carry on!
Thanks for reading this,
Best wishes - when are you going to visit The Gambia?


Monday, 28 October 2013

When do we say 'Good-bye' ?

Been thinking (yes, I know it's dangerous!) about how and when we cease to work with GOES. The charity is, in a sense, our baby - we conceived the idea, cherished it, watched it grow, became quite proud of its achievements ... and then we grew old and it became hard work!
 We have to accept that at some time we will be physically unable to travel out to The Gambia a couple of times a year, and I feel that now is the time for us to decide what to do! Our main concern is the future of the many children we support - and the living conditions of their parents. Only this week we have heard of the deaths of a very young child and of the father of a young woman whose education we sponsored. These people have become part of our extended family and their lives are interwoven with ours. I don't know the answer; I do know we must try to find it. Sometimes being 77 is great; sometimes it's not!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

We're home!

Hi; home again after our travels. We'll take a few days off to recover from dashing round Turkey - a lovely country - and recover from the effects of different food on our tummies! Seats booked for next trip to The Gambia but all we need now is sleep!
Best wishes and goodnight,
May the world sleep well!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Travel time

Every now and again we don't go to The Gambia! Shock and horror! Just for a change we're travelling in Turkey, where we have never been. It feels that I'm being disloyal to The Gambia but I hope it's not; Travel broadens the mind. A different place with people who may speak a different language but who, I expect, will be similar to us - concerns about education, the future of their children, worries about employment and making a good home for the family. We're all the same at heart, I think. So, my Gambian friends< I expect that we will be out of touch for a week but I promise you won't be forgotten. The Gambia is my second home.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The kindness of strangers

It's the time of year again when strangers (and friends too!) give mysterious lumpy bags to us - 'Are you going to The Gambia again? Yes? Do you think this might come in handy?' - and they present us with bulging carrier bags full of reading glasses and baby clothes and unused medical equipment and medicines.
Slowly the spare bed and the floor around it are covered - how can we take it all? This year Thomas Cook haven't replied to our appeal for an extra baggage allowance so it's going to be a problem.
The medical stuff goes to the clinics and hospitals - we're not medically qualified to decide who needs whatever, we leave that to local doctors and nurses. The reading glasses go the clinics too. The text books go to students and the reference books go to schools and the baby clothes go to, erm, babies!
We'll put off packing till the last minute; T.C. may well come good! We've booked the flight, found a room at Badala Park hotel - our favourite place to stay.
Thanks for all your help - we're counting the days!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Commonwealth and Lampedusa

I've enjoyed watching my friends celebrate Commonwealth Day in past years, and as a visiting Englishman it has helped me reflect on the wrongs that have been done to this tiny African country which I love so much. To witness the proud and friendly citizens of The Gambia celebrating Independence day has emphasised that the country has moved on from the days of exploitation and slavery with a good grace that many Europeans would have difficulty emulating.
 GOES will still help Gambians with emergency support whenever possible. We're a small charity and sometimes we sadly have to say 'Sorry, we can't help this time.' For example, we can't buy you a sheep to help celebrate Tobaski or other festivals. But recently we've helped a families cope with invalidity, house fires, rebuilding after the rainy season, school fees and dental expenses. Like hundreds of other small charities we do what we can.
 So, back to the title. Where does Lampedusa come into all this? Well, once again there's been a terrible disaster off the coast of that small Italian island. A boat crammed with refugees has caught fire and sank, causing the deaths of hundreds of men, women and children. I have always admired the courage and determination of people who leave their homes and set out on a journey of thousands of miles across unknown country to try and find a better life in Europe. I doubt I would have the courage to undertake such a journey. So many of those people meet with robbery, sickness or death when they undertake that journey. Some, a few, do make it and bravely look for employment so they can send money home to their families. Sadly, more do not; even if they survive the journey they may be arrested, interned, then returned to their home land poorer but perhaps wiser.
 GOES tries, in its own small way, like many other charities to help improve life for people in their own villages.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Fire and Malaria

Hello again. I think I mentioned that money doesn't sit in our bank for long; well, the last donation didn't! The kind people from an office in Tunbridge Wells sent a cheque to GOES and that money was on it's way to The Gambia today! (Wish I was going with it!)
 We heard from a very trusted source that there had been a serious fire in a Gambian home; thankfully nobody was hurt but a great deal of damage was done to the interior, bedding and clothing. Candles give a lovely light but it's fire!
 About the same time (yesterday) we also heard from a family in another village that there was severe sickness and we were able to send help today to both families.
 I'm also happy to report what may the end of the Co-op Bank saga; after six weeks' delay we again have access to the GOES account - just in time to offer the help detailed above. Coincidence?
Thanks for reading - the blog has well over 5,000 visits now!
Best wishes,

PS - I received some pictures of the fire damage but in my attempt to load them onto this blog they vanished! If I do manage to recover them I'll try again ...

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Happy Monday!

Well, it may be - the Co-op Bank have finally (after a wait of six weeks) sent me a new debit card and PIN number. They lost my application to set up a new security number so I'll try to sort that out tomorrow. They have actually added the promised £50 to the GOES account and some friends of S (thank you, J & M from an office in Tunbridge Wells) have sent a very welcome donation which I will now bank!
 Because I'm in a good humour again I've put 'Mussukunda' one of the 'Malinding' series of eBooks for Kindle on free offer for a couple of days ... I'm not stopping you from buying the rest of the series if you want to help GOES, of course!
Best wishes, nearly out of the woods,

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Leaping, very slowly, into action again.

Title says it all; actually had a phone call from the Co-op Bank yesterday. My missing correspondence has been found, but due to some clerical error we have to start all over again but a debit card will be sent, together with a new PIN so I can start to use the bank again. Great! Hurrah! When? Don't get too excited - it will take seven to ten working days ... in other words, we're back to the same position we were in five weeks ago. The difference is that this time I have a real live, named, person to speak to. So it all may turn out for the better, but not just yet. The good news is that the Bank will present GOES with some money as an apology. We'll see.
 I had a good day working at Gladstone's Library today - 1,300 words added to the fifth book (not thought of a title yet - 'Returned Empty' is my best effort so far but I don't really like it.
 Friend S (you know who you are) has been coaxing his friends into raising money for the cause - details when I have their permission to print them!
 HMRC have received our application for Gift Aid and I hope it will be processed before we travel out to The Gambia in November.
 So, the future's bright (but not just yet).
Best wishes to everyone,

Thursday, 12 September 2013

We'll be back!

Decided to have a few days off and visit/inflict-ourselves-on some good friends and relations we've not seen for a long while. Maybe the Co-op will have restored our access to the charity account by the time we return and normal service can be resumed! To compensate you for our absense from the blogosphere I'm putting 'Empty Bananas' (the first of the Malinding series of e-books) on free offer from Sunday for five days. This, I hop wou will agree, is about the right price for it!
'Bye for now,

Monday, 9 September 2013

Still trying!

We've been away from home for a couple of days. I needed a break - this stupid business with the Co-op Bank has really been getting me down. We took refuge at Gladstone's Library, where the first Gladfest of Poetry and Prose was being held - a great success and a good opportunity to try to forget the hassle of failing to deal with the Co-op Bank and the USA's IRS for a while. Great food too!
A fellow poet (Annie, many thanks) made a kind donation to GOES with the condition it should to used to make a child smile. Will do, and thanks. 
 Mention of money brings me back to the problem with the Co-op Bank a/c - slight progress; we now have a form to fill in which, after we have posted (post? Not fax or e-mail???) back to the bank may enable us to receive a new debit card so we can withdraw money from the account and send it to people who need it! So, we may be back in business sometime next week. Possibly. Perhaps. 
 While we were at the Library I managed to fit in a few hours work on the latest Malinding book - the word count is now over 30K ! 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Still banging my head ...

Yes! Still banging my head in despair at attempts to regain access to the GOES bank account. The 'Co-operative Bank' are being totally un-co-operative, and we're now into the third week of trying to operate without a bank account. I've been able to use some of our own money to help the most needy people but we can't keep on like this. Telephone calls to the 'customer support' line offer no help. and visits to the local branch reveal that workers there have no more success then we do. Oddly, I can deposit funds - I just can't make withdrawals!
 Happier notes: the tilt-top table sold for £26 and went to a good home (the money is buried in the vaults of the Co-0p Bank ...
 'Stories for Gambian Children' is now available on Kindle - free!
I'm going to try my hand at registering with The USA IRS so they won't deduct tax on the $1 that each of the Malinding books sells for over there.
Maybe tomorrow will bring a positive result from the Bank - you'll be the first to know if it does!
Thanks for putting up with me again!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Progress - or lack of it - report.

Hello again. Still waiting for the Co-op Bank to get round to customer support! Ten days after informing them that my bank card was missing I still don't have a replacement! This is the Charity account and I can't get money out of it ... the GOES system is that when we receive an appeal for help, and approve it, I potter along to any UK bank, pop my card into the slot, key in the code and amount required and take the cash to Bayba via Barclay's Bank. With luck the money is available in The Gambia the same day and I'm informed when the collection has been safely made.  Sadly, the system fails because the Co-op is working so slowly. At least, I suppose they're working - I've no evidence to show that they are.
 However, there is a little more money waiting for us - the pretty little Victorian table I mentioned a couple of weeks ago has now sold (for £26 ) on EBay and is ready for the buyer to pick up.
 I'm faced with filling in a lot of information for the American tax authorities, who want a slice of the 'profits' from the sale of the 'Malinding' series of books - it won't pay the National Debt off! I've put 'Stories for Gambian Children' on free offer next week (4th - 8th August) if you're interested. It's a short book of short stories I've told in various Gambian schools - well worth the offer price of £0 !
Thanks for reading so far.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Back to work!

Finally sorted out the Gift Aid claim for GOES. I really don't like trying to do important work on line, especially with a dodgy PC. J was away last week on a course and I'd promised myself to do the claim and then to relax with a few trips to local places I'd not visited for a long time. Not to be! I discovered that my wallet was missing; in it was the money for my car repairs and all my bits of plastic - bank cards, bus pass, driving licence, membership cards and , worst of all, a really nice picture of J; all were missing. So my time became very occupied. Nat West Bank very helpful - I could access my account two days later. Other institutions weren't so helpful - the Co-opBank least of all. I did manage a good day writing at Gladstone's Library (and a very nice cake ..!) but it was a very frustrating time.
 I suppose the good bit is that nobody tried to steal my identity (who would want to impersonate an absent-minded 77 year old?) but I do rather resent the theft of my time.
 Fingers crossed and hoping the Gift Aid claim goes through without too much bother; there are a number of good causes needing a helping hand. There are times when I feel that I'm too old for all this hassle and maybe I should finally retire and riot around a bit while I still can (total lie - I was never much good at rioting!)
 Sorry to moan but it's been one of those weeks!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Head scratching time ...

Suppose for a moment that you're the head of a small family living in sub-Saharan Africa. A few months ago you lost your job and there doesn't seem much chance of getting any form of paid work, even though you've tried and tried and tried. You're a single parent mother, with no support from your ex-husband for your two children. An English couple you met, back in the days when you were working, offered to support the education of your daughter (she's your eldest child, a very bright girl.) Someone else helps with the school fees of your boy. Now, as I said, you're out of work. The person who was helping with your son's fees hasn't been in touch for a year or more. Your daughter has finished school and wants to go to college, and has been accepted on the course which will lead to a good qualification. The money for her college fees, quite a lot of money, arrives. There is no food in the house, the rent is greatly overdue and your son cannot complete his education. The bills are mounting up.
 What do you decide to use this gift of money for? It's enough to pay off the rent arrears and to buy food, and perhaps pay your son's fees for another term.
What would you do, and how would you explain your decision to the couple who sent the money for your girl's education? What would you expect the reaction of the sponsors to be?
This is a real situation.

Thanks for reading this.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Book table?

Progress report: The tilt-top table is now for sale on EBay. I'm asking £25 as a starting price - it should be worth at least twice that - and mentioned that all the selling price will go directly to GOES.

Work on the next book progresses; it's one of the Malinding series and Ed-Lamin (Ed's eldest son) is the main character. It begins in England, but a very different England. Voter apathy has enabled a racist minority party to take control and young Ed is caught up in the killing that results. I need to enable him to escape and flee to freedom - not easy in a totalitarian regime! At least it's fiction ... hope to have it out in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Help GOES - help The Gambia!

Posted by PicasaGood things happen out of the blue! On Sunday we went up to Blackpool to meet Stuart (a friend we first met a few years ago in Kotu) and had a wonderful day during the course of which he presented us with a bag containing a host of colourful knitted baby clothes, donated by Elizabeth. They will be in The Gambia before Christmas, cheering up a good few babies and their mums!
Then, on Tuesday we collected some chairs which had been repaired by Patrick, a furniture restorer in Frodsham. You can see one of the chairs in the top photo - it's good to be able to sit down again while we eat! What is even better that he presented us with the pretty little tilt-top table with instructions to sell it and give the money to GOES! The table is late Victorian/early Edwardian and is in excellent condition (well, it is now that Patrick has worked his magic on it!)
People are so kind. Thanks to all the people I've mentioned here, and thaks to all those who have been buying the 'Malinding' books - I have no idea who you are but thanks - all proceeds go directly into the Charity Co-op bank account. Again, thanks to Stuart who has been gently persuading some of his friends to buy the books! (Hope those people are still his friends!) Thanks also to whoever you are in Japan who bought a copy of Mussukunda the other day!
I was back at Gladstone's Library at Hawarden today and yet another chapter of the latest book is down on paper. Well, to be honest, it's not down on paper - it's down on what ever the computer puts it!
Thanks for reading this - more soon.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

One of those weeks!

Well, it has been. The GOES bank balance was looking quite healthy for a while so we sent it out to work! We've made sure a bright young girl can continue her education, repaired the doors of a house to keep the snakes out, helped the family of a young man who has just lost his job - the sort of things GOES does. The support given by Vale Royal Writers and Liverpool's Dead Good Poets has been put to good use.
 I thought I had better do my bit and so I trooped off to Gladstone's Library to put in a hard day working on the new book. Found I'd arrived with a computer with a flat battery and without the mains lead to charge it. Drat, bother and trudget! Managed to get a little done in longhand but the arthritis which has nested in my hands limited that! Drat, etc. again! Still, the cake was good (coconut and chocolate, if you must know ...)
However, we've found a furniture restorer who can mend our wobbly chairs - but he's gone on holiday.
 Another worry is the rumour that Barclays Bank is giving up on money transfers is a bit worrying. We use BAYBA, which has been excellent over the years; quite low charges, good exchange rate and same day service if we pay in early enough. The paying in bit has been through Barclays Bank, here in Stockton Heath and Warrington, and we have used it for years without a single problem. Fingers crossed that it continues to work.
 Oh - nearly forgot; we get lots of requests for help towards buying a sheep from families who want to celebrate the end of Ramadan in style. Sorry, we can't help with this. I realise the importance of celebration after a long period of fasting but we just do not have the money to pay for highly priced sheep.
 The week ended sadly for us, attending the funeral  of a good man. I wished I had known him better, but I liked and enjoyed his company on the few occasions when I had the good fortune to share it. There's no tomorrow in this life.
 Sorry, sad note to end on - keep buying the Malinding ebooks and help build up GOES bank account again! 'Empty Bananas' is the first and the worst but I'm told the others are worth a read for $1 or 77p ...

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Post as promised!

The Word Fest was brilliant! Music, poetry and prose on a Summer' evening - thanks to all who attended, either to perform or to listen. The raffle, together with generous donations, put £73 pounds into the GOES account. It won't rot away in the vaults of the Co-op Bank - we'll find a good use for it, promise!
Last year's money funded the purchase of the wheelchair mentioned in earlier posts. One thing being associated with GOES has taught me is never to underestimate the creative talents or the generosity of people. Yes, that's two things ... I'll go back to sleep now and dream of Baobab trees ... I'm too old for these late nights (unless I'm dancing to African drums on a beach of silver sand ...)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Vale Royal Writers Group to the rescue!

VRWG, together with the Dead Good Poets of Liverpool, hold their Summer Wordfest tonight in the Blue Cap inn, in a Cheshire village - Sandiway. We'll listen to some excellent poetry and prose, enjoy the company and hope the raffle raises some funds for GOES. If you're up for it bring some of your own poetry or stories along because there will be a few 'open mic' sessions. Writers will sell you their books, the publican will sell you drinks and food - what's not to like?
Naturally, you've already bought the Malinding series of e-books about village life in West Africa? Just to celebrate our heat wave I've put 'The Mechanical Girl' on free e-book offer on Kindle ... and did I mention that all income from sales of the Malinding books go straight into GOES bank account? Yes, thought I did!
If you can't make it I'll let you know how much we raise - and what we spend it on! Lately we've funded school fees, medical help, the installation of a water supply at a clinic, a wheel chair for a young woman, a new back door for a family home - and a few more bags of rice for hungry people. Thanks for your help (if you buy all the Malinding books we can give a mosquito net to some one who needs it!)
Thanks again.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The sun shines but I go to work!

You might think that at my age I'd have more sense! Still, there's another book to be finished. In it Ed's eldest son, Ed-Lamin, has finished Uni in England and has settled down to live happily ever after with Jane, his beautiful girlfriend. There was a General Election six months ago but the people of England were either too lazy to vote or too disillusioned to care. So, as a result, an extremist party - the Purity People's Party - gained power and set about ridding the country of 'undesirable aliens' by rounding them up into concentration camps. Ed-Lamin is captured by manages to escape by  -  well, that would be telling and I need you to buy the book and support GOES! Anyway, it may or may not end happily!
 So, that's why I've spent a sunny day indoors. The pile of reading glasses donated by kind people in Cheshire for use by short-sighted people in West Africa grows - more please. We're not sure that we'll be able to take heavy stuff like reference books out this time because we've not heard from Thomas Cook about an extra baggage allowance yet. Fingers crossed. Light stuff we can manage in our pockets - mobile phones (always welcome), memory sticks, spectacles and such like, please !

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Free 'Empty Bananas'!

Just checked Amazon ebooks - the introductory book in the 'Malinding' series is now on free offer for five days. Enjoy (I hope!).

PS - as I suggested yesterday, if you ignore the 'romantic episodes' the book is a fair guide to life in The Gambia away from the tourist area.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Decision made!

Right: 'Empty Bananas' goes on free offer in the next day or so. It's a Kindle e-book so you can download it from Amazon e-books. You don't need a Kindle Reader or a tablet; you can download a free Kindle app  and then you have access to all Kindle books from your PC or laptop. 'Empty Bananas' is the first book in the 'Malinding' series - you can find all four books if you search for 'Malinding'.
In Empty Bananas you meet most of the people who feature in the rest of the books. I'll repeat - all the characters (bar the girl I mentioned in the previous post) are creatures of my imagination. If you follow the directions the Malinding village you'll get very wet - I positioned it in the River Gambia, just beyond Mandinari village (which does exist!) Most of the other places I mention do exist- Banjul (the capital), Bakau (a fishing village), Kotu and Kololi and Serrekunda and Basse and ... all are real, all are worth a visit and I have been told that the Malinding books can be used as holiday guides (just don't try to visit Malinding!)
People with keen eyes and a good memory will note that certain English characters who play an important part in 'Empty Bananas' do not feature in the next three books - don't worry, you'll meet them again in the next, and possibly final, book in the series. I'm still writing it! Hopefully you'll be able to be re-united with them later this year.
The books are priced at 77p (1$), of which Amazon keep 42p and the writer's share, 35p, goes straight into the bank account of the charity Gambian Occasional Emergency Support. You might say it goes to GOES ...
Happy reading, and do think about a holiday to The Gambia one day!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Thinking about another free promotion for two of the 'Malinding' books ...

The first of the books, 'Empty Bananas', and the third, 'The Mechanical Girl' could be put on Amazon's Kindle ebooks free offer again. I thinking about what to do.
'Empty Bananas' was the book that started it all off. The first chapter, about an unhappy little girl, was a short story I wrote many years ago. I read it to my local writing group - Vale Royal Writers' Group - and put it back in the drawer. I kept thinking about the old man in the story and he grew into Ed, the anti-hero of the first book. I was concerned about the little girl, and she became Jodie, a world class wheelchair athlete.
I wrote the book and decided to publish it on Kindle. I was so keen to put it on sale that I published the wrong version; it contained all sorts of mistakes, and made a generally poor impression. Col gave it a very fair write-up and I was encouraged to wrestle with the technology and publish a better-edited version.

I wrote 'The Mechanical Girl' as a fictional autobiography of a youngster in one of the villages who enjoyed making toys out of scrap materials for the smaller children. She showed great ingenuity, making tools to help her in her task. I gave her a different name and wrote a fictional account of what her life might have been. She is the only one of my characters based on an actual West African. All of my other characters, and the village of Malinding itself, are pure fiction.

Right then; decision made. I'll put 'Empty Bananas' on free promotion, some time next week. Probably. I'll let you know! It won't bring any money to the charity (GOES, in case you'd forgotten) but it might encourage the sale of the other books ... hint, hint!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Working together.

GOES is, as I may have mentioned before, a very small charity. It therefore makes good sense to join with other charities or individuals from time to time to achieve a good result. We received the email below, which we publish with the senders permission, to illustrate a happy outcome in such a case. It also shows how determined the young people of The Gambia are to succeed for the benefit of their families and their country. We wish Xxxx every success in the future.
 Hi Tom,
Yes, he worked very hard and yes, I provided some encouragement and financial support to him. But...... you and Joyce stepped in when I couldn't and provided him with the funding for medical care he needed. You get both of our thanks and appreciation for that.

Happy for you to put something in your blog without my or his name and  that thanks to support from GOES, M was returned to good health following a severe bout of malaria and was able to gain the strength to go forward again in his life to successfully complete his studies and his exams funded and cared for by his British sponsor.

Something along those lines anyway. but yes Tom, credit where credit is due in order!!.
Hi Tom and Joyce,

Just a short good news message from Xxxxx.
They had their graduation day at Arabic school yesterday (similar to our last day of final term). He had a good time of celebration with his friends.
All pupils were called back into school today to check the lists of pupils who had failed their exams. (You will probably be familiar with this process from Mandinari). 
Xxxxx has emailed me to say that he has not failed! He doesn't know his final pass mark yet but at least has passed all his subjects.
He has tried really hard. Even to the point of not eating and losing weight in order to get his days and evenings full of study time.
I thought that you would like to know.
Next stages will depend on his results. Hopefully he will be able to secure a placement at college or university course in Banjul. If he does, I will make sure I help him every step of the way. 
Warmest good wishes. Thank you so much for your caring, loving support of him. You HAVE made a difference!! If you hadn't paid for his malaria treatment and the mosquito net, things may have been very different.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Still at work!

Apologies for not keeping the blog up to date, but I've not been asleep, at least, not all the time! For one thing, I've been hard at work on the next book - haven't decided on a title yet so, for the moment, it goes under the working title of 'The Fifth Book'! It will be the fifth (!) book in the Malinding series about life and love in an imaginary Gambian village. It's the story of Ed's eldest son, Ed-Lamin, who comes to England to study but finds that his dreams become nightmares ...

On the funding front we've received a series of donations from Stuart's friends - they don't linger long in the bank but soon make their way to people in need in The Gambia (the donations, that is - we hope the donors will also travel to West Africa and see what has become of their money!)

In my spare time I'm enjoying another ebook by Clarissa Vincent; 'The Voyage of Storm Petrel' - the writer sailed her small boat from England to West Africa, then sailed up the river Gambia from Denton Bridge to Basse - and then back to England through the French canals!

Ah, well; back to work ...

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Spring cleaning?

Yes, I know it's a bit late but then so is Spring this year! If you happen to be turning out old pairs of reading glasses (or even old mobile 'phones!) we can find good homes for them, via the clinic at Mandinari Village.
Just a thought (but thanks - the last lot all found good homes ...)

Monday, 3 June 2013

Do we need a jumble sale?

What we need is a fund raiser! Hopefully HMRC will soon provide a tax refund. That will mend a hole in the fund bucket - cash has been flowing out just a little faster than it's been flowing in recently. Thanks very much to VRWG and Stuart and his friends who have kept the good ship GOES afloat! You know who you are!
The most upsetting part of running a charity is having to say 'no' to people you know have very good reason for asking for help. They are the cause of us worrying our selves awake at night.
 Still, for the moment, we plod on. We've booked flights for our next visit to The Gambia - roll on November!
 If you happen to have a box full of old reading glasses we know a good home for them - Mandinari village clinic! One young woman was given a 'Distinction' for an exam - without the gift of a suitable pair of reading glasses she wouldn't have been able to read the questions! (Yes, a bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean!)
 We really miss the heat of the sub-Saharan sun, and the smiles of our friends there. Go and see for yourselves, if you can - but be aware: the crocodiles and the mosquitoes bite, but Africa bites harder and won't let go! We went the first time 'just to have a bit of a look and to say we've been' - twenty (or is it thirty?) visits later we're still going ...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Friends and places ...

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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The 'Malinding Village' library!

 Here are the covers of the four 'Malinding' series of books about life in The Gambia - and in England! Perhaps they are love stories, perhaps they are commentaries of social conditions in the two countries. What is certain is that every penny and pound from the sales of these Kindle ebooks goes to helping Gambian people. Please, if you haven't tried one, it's a way of donating small amounts to GOES - and you have a book in return as a 'thank you'!

 Thanks to Amieyo for letting us use her picture for this cover.
 This is amazingly hard work - I've tried it!
 The first book (I hope they have improved ... still, worth 75 pence?)
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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Free Book?

With a bit of luck 'Stories for Gambian Children' will again be available free of charge on Kindle for five days from tomorrow (15/05/13).
We're quite happy to do this for both Gambian and European schools - some of the stories are quite basic about reading and writing but a few others are about learning from one another ... enjoy!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

We should never forget the harm ...

 We should never forget the harm our ancestors did to Africa and African people. The best we can attempt is to learn from History the mistakes we made, and never repeat them
 We should appreciate the gentle, smiling, forgiveness and dignity with which Africans greet us, and do what we can, as individuals, to make reparation.
 Something which encourages me is the experience of chatting to Europeans we meet, many of whom support a family, an individual child or a whole school or clinic - whatever their resources allow. This puts so many first world governments, including our own, to shame.
 Look out through the archways which over look the great river at a peaceful country, inhabited by people on whom, one day, our futures may depend.
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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sorry - must get my facts right!

Had a look at the blog. The donation was from M's cousin S, not from a relative of the wheelchair girl who is W's sister. Complicated!!
Thanks for the correction, Stuart!
I shall write out 50 times 'I must get my facts right!'  - when I have time to spare!
Off to Gladstone's library to work on the fifth book in the Malinding series - provisional title 'The Fifth Book'.
It all started off as a very short story - the opening chapter of 'Empty Bananas' - then I wondered what happened to the old man and the girl. A third of a million words later ...
Anyway, thanks again, S.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Faith, Hope and Charity!

We always have had great faith in the goodness and kindness of other people. It's world-wide, not confined to one race of people or one country.
Hope is a good element - we've been interviewed by the local newspaper (they even asked for photographs!) and we hope this will lead to an increase in the sales of the Malinding e-books and that will lead to an increase in funds for the charity ... one thing leads to another.
I was reading our local paper today and was very impressed by the reports of so many people doing good things to help other people - riding bikes for miles, rowing boats, walking - all to help others. I'm convinced that there are far more good people in the world than bad ones. For example, we mentioned a couple of days ago that we had been able to help a young lady get a good quality wheelchair. Yesterday we received a donation from her brother - a student - as a way of saying 'thank you' and to help us to help some one else.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

What's GOES been doing lately?

We seem to have been busy! I may have mentioned the writing business once or twice? That is going quite well, and the Malinding series of books have found their way into all parts of the UK, the USA and odd places in Europe - there's even one somewhere in Japan!
The next two books are underway; one is the story of Ed's eldest son, now living in England and married to an English girl - first baby expected soon! The other book is an anthology of my poetry; it's time it was all in one place (the waste paper basket, do I hear you cry?) so I'm compiling an anthology just so I know where everything is.
On the money front we must really go ahead with the Gift Aid claim from HMRC - 25% tax back on all authorised donations. Comes in very handy - every penny goes to Gambians in need.
We've made donations to a couple of people we know to help with starting small businesses - market stalls, small-holdings, that sort of thing. We've provided a young woman with the means to buy a decent wheel-chair and given a grant to another to help re-roof her house before the rains start.
We've helped a village clinic re-stock its medicine cupboard and provided a new wheel for a gardener's wheelbarrow. We've contributed to school and examination fees and to funeral expenses as well.
We've managed to do this with the aid of people we know and trust - thanks to all who have helped (you know who you are!)
Time for a cup of tea (wish I could brew Ataya - one of the many things I miss when I'm here and not there!) and back to work. Thanks for your time.
Did I mention 'The Alkalo' of Malinding is on free offer - Amazon Kindle e-books?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Latest Malinding book on sale!

At last, 'The Alkalo' is on sale. Had a terrible job loading her onto Kindle - first attempt included every single alteration, update, edit, spell check and dozens of blank 'ghost' pages. version 2 seems OK, but let me know if you find any errors! She's on sale at $1 to start with but I'll let you know when she goes on free offer for a few days.
Happy reading!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The best laid plans can go wrong!

Today was the day I hoped to add 'The Alkalo' to the list of ebooks based on the imaginary Gambian village of Malinding. Just one more read through, I promised her, then you're on line to find your way in the world. Just one more read through: I noticed a number of 'ghost' blank pages. Impossible to delete, the cursor wouldn't click onto them - there were more by the minute.
Close 'Word', remove usb stick, shut down the computer - and try again. Worse this time - 'Word' crashed every time I scrolled about half way through the document.
Lots of searching on-line for a solution. Managed to get rid of the ghost pages (View - on-line layout - scroll document) Ghost page vanished but Word still crashed. Drat, bother and trudget! Will I have to re-type 80k words?
Just one of those days, I guess. Better luck tomorrow?

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A day in the life of ...

People who haven't retired yet sometimes wonder what we find to do all day, imagining a life of quiet calm punctuated by long walks, log fires and cake. If only! Today has been spent on the 'phone, trying to sort out payments to people in The Gambia. Usually it works perfectly. A request for assistance arrives - we consider it. Do we know this person, have they been honest with us in the past, is it likely this clinic needs re-stocking, is this what that school really needs? And, of course, have we got the funds to cover the request? On Monday we managed to respond to three requests; wages for one, rice for another and help with building materials for a third. We use BAYBA as a money-transfer office, very simple, very quick, usually no longer than 24 hours to complete a transfer and same day transfers not unusual.
So it was for two of our clients. Money collected by Tuesday, just as expected. The third customer arrived at the BAYBA office in Serrekunda (very large, busy, market town - well worth a visit!) to find her application refused. Very distressed she sent me a text today to explain.the problem. I called the London office - yes, the money should be in Serrekunda. We re-checked the code number people have to give when collecting their funds; yes, that was correct. Text to client, who tried again - failed again. More calls and texts. Sometimes calls to the Gambia are clearer than calls to London. Sadly, today was not one of the clear days. Three hours of calls, texts, weeping, code numbers and, finally success. Happy client and we could breath freely again. Human error. No international fraud, just a mis-read code number. People in the BAYBA offices both here and in The Gambia have been most helpful, patient not only with a slightly deaf old man at this end but a tearful and distressed lady in the African town. Until the beginning of the year we had an excellent representative based in The Gambia who sorted these things out for us but, sadly, he has left the country.
Oh, and we've lost J's diary ... just one of those days!
If I ever find out how to post photographs from my 'phone to the blog I could illustrate this sad tale with pictures of us tearing out hair out and looking anxious ... just as well not, then!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Questions, and a few answers ...

We were fortunate enough to be able to retire about twenty years ago, from what seemed at that time to be busy working lives.
'That's it' we said, 'a bit of peace and quiet, a bit of travel, time to read the paper and do the odd crossword.' We did that for a week, then J decided to go and study for a degree. Three degrees (sounds like a Pop group) later she's still an avid student.
I was far too idle to go back to being a student so I became involved with 'voluntary' work. At first I helped out a bit locally, then, after a trip to The Gambia, my world changed. So, here I am, at three score years and seventeen, working eight-hour days for no pay and having a great, if exhausting, life. No sign of retiring yet ...
People have asked
'How can we be sure that any money we give goes to the people who really need it?' Well, if possible, travel to see what local conditions are like, get to know people, keep a check on progress (of the student, the patient, the school - whatever cause you gave the money/assistance to.
There's an old saying - fool me once, your fault. Fool me twice, my fault.
Give small at first, increase amounts later (if you can), ask for receipts, photographs, any evidence you can gather.
If you're approached by someone you don't know listen, but don't promise. Find out if any of your friends know the person/school/clinic. Don't accept offers to 'give to the orphans/old men/un-named school or clinic.
We're a small charity but over the years, we've been able to help hundreds of people. Things have gone wrong, we've been cheated by people we trusted, but such cases are exceptionally rare.
We don't preach a faith and we respect the beliefs of our friends. If we can help, we will. We won't promise help we can't sustain, and yes, it's hard to say 'no'.
Chatting to people at the airport and on the 'plane it's clear that many, many people are doing what we do. This lady may be helping to build a school, that man has sponsored a dozen school student, this person is bubbling with excitement because she's going to meet the child she's helping through nursery school - people are, I'm firmly convinced, good.

Enough ranting I've been putting off the paperwork for claiming Gift Aid on donations.
Must find out if we can claim on the value of reading glasses we took to the clinic last year ....

Friday, 5 April 2013

Free E-book!

'Mussukunda will be available on Kindle from 6/04/2013 to 10/04/2013 - free! Or you could wait to buy it on Thursday for 77p and contribute to GOES funds! Now there's a moral dilemma ...

Thursday, 4 April 2013

'Mussukunda' soon on free offer!

The revised, second edition of 'Mussukunda' will soon be on free offer on Kindle Ebooks. It's the story of how an unemployed single woman from south Lancashire finds her way to West Africa and finds fulfilling work there. She's accepted by the inhabitants of Mussukunda (the place of women), helps in a rescue mission and finds love. I'll post again when it's available.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Mussukunda re-born!

The second book in the 'Malinding' series is in the process of re-publication on Kindle Ebooks. It has a new cover and hopefully all the typos have been corrected. I'll let you know when it's on free offer so that all of you who bought the faulty first edition can see how it was supposed to be! I'm now working on the revision of the third book - 'The Mechanical Girl' - and the the last (I think!) book in the series - 'The Alkalo' - will be available.
Last year the books brought in about £200 - that's to all of you who bought them at the full price ($1 or 77p). The amount that Amazon passed on to the charity - 35% of the sale price - went into the charity account. Money doesn't linger long in the bank vaults! Today I sent £100, via Bayba, which will help maintain a clinic, make a contribution to the wages of a small school and repair a house.
I wonder if increasing the price of the books an Amazon would bring in more money? What do you think?
Best wishes,

Monday, 1 April 2013

Want more money!

I know, I know - so does everybody else! It would come in handy, honestly! There are children in need of school fees, older  students wanting to enrol on IT courses, people with medical needs, schools needing refurbishment, clinics wanting to re-stock their medicine cupboards, unemployed workers who would like just a little capital to start a business, villagers hoping to have just a few bags of cement to weather-proof their homes before the rainy season starts.
 We need a fund-raiser! Unpaid, of course!  6Or donations can be made via the GOES web-site, or money can be +popped into our collection boxes at Hatters and Snips in Warrington, or you can buy the 'Malinding' e-books, available on Amazon Kindle (you don't actually need a Kindle as it's easy to load them onto PCs and Laptops ...
 I'm busy re-editing 'Mussukunda' (should be doing that now but I fancied a tea & biscuit break), which will be going on-line later this week - the book, not the tea break!
 It seems like only a few days since we returned from The Gambia - a couple of months, in fact - but we keep in touch as much as possible with our friends through texts and Skype. Ah well, back to the grind-stone ...

Friday, 29 March 2013

Free Bananas (Empty) !

I've just checked on Amazon - e-books page and the first book in the Malinding Village series, 'Empty Bananas' is there on free offer for 4 more days. It's about imaginary people in an imaginary village - but the country - The Gambia - is real. Why not have a look? The sun is shining, here in England, but it's cold outside. Sit in your house, cuddle up to the radiator, read the book and pretend for a few hours that you're basking in sub-Saharan sunshine enjoying the company of some of the nicest people on the planet!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Free offer of revised 'Empty Bananas'.

The second edition of 'Empty Bananas' will be available on Kindle e-books from Friday 29/3/2013 to Tuesday 2/04/2013.
Free of charge - the first edition was terrible!
Revised and corrected - a story which travels from Cheshire to The Gambian imaginary village of Malinding via Runcorn, Warrington and Kotu.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Correcting my mistakes!

 Time for another apology, folks. The first edition of 'Empty Bananas' was, to put it mildly, a dog's dinner. I'd written a series of short stories, set in an imaginary Gambian village. Then I had a bright (not!) idea - I thought I'd join the stories together and publish a novel. So, with very little editing and even less proof-reading, that's what I did.
 I'd like to apologise to the people who bought it, and to the people who downloaded it when it was on free release. We've spent a lot of time re-editing and proof-reading and I hope the second edition is more readable. It will be available soon on Kindle and I'll publish a notification here and on Facebook and Twitter as soon as I can offer it again on free release.
 As most you you must know, the object of publication is to raise funds for the charity 'GOES', but before we ask for money I think it only fair to offer the book to those people who were disappointed by the first edition.
Watch this space - I'm hoping to load the book later today - the new cover is on the left of this apology!
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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Progress takes time ...

Posted by PicasaSorry we haven't been keeping you up to date - we've not been idle!  We are still supporting a number of Gambian families with emergency help buying medicines, paying increasing school fees and making some regular payments to ensure that one school can function properly. 
Now, near the end of March 2013, we have been asked for the school fees for two little girls for next term (Gambian schools run on the same timetables as English schools as they were once a British colony). The amount required is only 30GBP each which provides school attendance, a small snack and uniforms. They will also have received a mosquito net initially, vital to help prevent the killer disease malaria. 

Friday, 8 March 2013

Revised ebook

As promised I have revised and, hopefully, corrected the mistakes in the first edition of 'Stories for Gambian Children'. Sorry to all who bought this book - it will be available for free download from 10th to 14th of March. Thanks to all of who who, so nicely, pointed out the errors.
I'm revising the books in the Malinding series about life in an African village and these too will be offered on Kindle in the near future.
Now, near the end of March, Empty Bananas is almost ready to go! Watch this space.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Busy, busy!

GOES has had a busy few days - firstly, we've had money in from the sale of ebooks (the Malinding series on Kindle), income from sales on EBay, donations from friends and family. Don't all rush - it comes into the account and goes (! sorry!) out again almost immediately. This has helped a young man with medical costs associated with a badly damaged leg, repairs to a family house so it will be water tight when the rains come, money to buy rice to feed a very poor family and school fees for several children. 

If you would like to sponsor a very hard working young man's studies we can put you in touch with him. He's bright, very keen to gain qualifications and an income to support his extended family.

We sent some money to The Gambia today and were delighted and surprised to be question by one of the bank staff about our work and what help we would like. Fingers crossed (which will make the editing of the ebooks difficult but may bring good luck to GOES!)

We also heard from HMRC that they are making it easier to claim Gift Aid on donations.

Two months ago we returned from The Gambia to our home feeling very despondent about progress. We then both had health worries. I felt life would be much better if we gave up working with the charity (if you add both our ages together it comes to 149 years) but today we'll carry on. We can't let our African friends down.

I do rant on, don't I? Sorry - back to work. Is that a piece of cake I see?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Reason for delay ...

Posted by PicasaWell, one of the reasons!  Lots of kind people have bought copies of this book, the sale of which goes straight into the GOES bank account - and usually straight out again to help someone some where in The Gambia. Some of the people who bought a copy pointed out that it could have been better produce - they were right! So, we withdrew it from Kindle and revised the the cover and the contents: hope you like it! As a thank-you we'll be offering it for free download (and as compensation to all the people who bought the first edition). All the 'Malinding' books have been withdrawn for similar reasons, and as soon as the editorial team (Amieo and Joyce, plus me) has completed the re-edit the books will be back on sale again.
 Health has been a bit of a problem for us too since we returned to the UK just before Christmas. We have spent too long in hospital waiting rooms with crossed fingers; worth it in the end because only minor faults emerged and we'll be back on track very soon.
 The matter of the missing money hasn't yet been resolved. Friends in the village concerned are looking into it and until that is resolved the village women will wait for their maize-mill. We hope they won't have to wait much longer because the mill will free them from a very onerous task, and enable a return to education for many of them, we hope.
We'll keep you posted - thanks for your patience - and thanks to Stuart for the push in the right direction ... 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Bad news - the remedy GOES on!

I mentioned, a few posts ago, that there was good news and bad news: well, good news is obvious, I suppose. People we've been able to help with medical problems are improved; people we've helped with their education show us their certificates and diplomas with justifiable pride (they did the work after all!)
We're about to buy the third bicycle to enable another student reach a distant school. We hear the people who asked our help to repair storm damaged houses are, as I write this, taking delivery of sand and cement to repair the damage with more durable building blocks.
 We haven't yet received information about the bank balance of a group of young people in one of the villages who had asked our help with an ambitious project a couple of years ago. The fund raising in both the UK and the village had been going well - at least up to January last year. I December we took enough money with us to complete the project but the bank book failed to present itself for inspection. The money wasn't wasted - the clinic's water bill was paid, repairs funded for some school equipment, bags of cement and loads of sand delivered, as detailed above. I'm just so very sorry for the young people of the village who had hoped to see their project completed. Maybe next year, if ever we find out what happened to that bank account.
Meanwhile, does anyone know of a source of good quality wheelchairs, preferably in The Gambia?