Monday, 27 January 2014

Sad day - and not just the loss of income!

Our favourite coffee shop, the independent one upstairs at Hatters Row, in Warrington, is about to close. During the past twenty years we have taken coffee (and, too many times, cake!) at least once or twice weekly. We have made friends with many fellow customers and with all the staff. What has this to do with GOES? Well, for at least nineteen of those years a collecting box has stood on a shelf near the entrance, covered in pictures of Gambian schools, children, clinics and damaged buildings. Into the box has gone several hundred pounds, donated by customers and staff, and those donations have gone to help people of all ages, from 2 days old to over 90 years. Children have been educated, mosquito nets have been bought, at least two wells have been dug - the list goes on.
 Kind people have willingly given their help to people they may never meet - though we keep encouraging them to visit The Gambia at least once. We know they would be made welcome. So, today, we emptied the box for the last time. It contained £9.31 (and somebody at the next table made that up to £10.00). We made out the last receipt, and added our thanks, on behalf of all our Gambian friends. Tomorrow I'll pay the money into the GOES bank account and, no doubt, very soon it will be transferred by BAYBA to help some person who needs our assistance.
Thanks to all of you who popped your change (and sometimes more) into that little wooden box with pictures on.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Bits and bobs ...

Trauma with new 'phone; still eating money. I request a refund from T-Mobile - refund arrives and vanishes next day! Borrowed an old phone from J and can't find out how to send messages. Download a C200 (!) manual and still can't find out how to send messages. Replace Sim card in new phone. More money vanishes! Is there a reliable PAYG brand? It needs to be fool/idiot proof!
 More help requests - salary for a new teacher at one school, a clinic needs an autoclave (would a pressure cooker do - we've got one of those! Gambians ring our land line but don't realise it doesn't retain the numbers of callers from Africa - please, please tell the answer phone your name and number slowly and clearly and we will call you!

Monday, 20 January 2014


We've heard from the young woman we helped with medical treatment if Dakar - she's fine; has to return to Senegal in 3 months for a check-up.
Still waiting to hear about the little boy with an eye problem.
We have provided help for a small-holder who wishes to improve the irrigation of his crops - the nearest water supply is a long walk away.
We've provided help for a lady who wishes to continue her education, and minor help for a few more.
Less importantly, though quite pleasing, the 'phone company which had been eating my money without allowing me to make/receive calls has give a full refund!
Best wishes to all,

Thursday, 16 January 2014


Wonderful invention, the 'phone. They don't seem to have got it quite right yet; I decided to dump my old Nokia, the small brick-like gadget that had served me well for about ten years, surviving being dropped, drenched in the wettest rain the The Gambia's rainy season could deliver (that's pretty wet, if you haven't yet visited GOES territory from July through to September!). I gave myself a present of an up-date which is supposedly able to take pictures and deliver them to blogs and web-sites within moments. It's lighter and smaller than the brick. Pity it doesn't do what it says on the tin/box. Yes, it takes pictures. Then it keeps them. I've been trying for the past three months to send the pics to this web. They don't arrive - somewhere, in outer space, there are pictures of clinics and hospitals and schools floating about, looking for a home. What the 'phone does do, and seems very good at, is costing me money. It leaks money. If I check the balance at the end of one day and then switch it off for the night then switch it on next morning the balance is lower. Somehow it has spent money while being switched off! Is it going out to all-night parties? Is it connecting to Amazon and buying ebooks? What is it doing?
Sorry about the rant - I like technology when it works, really I do!
Best wishes,

By the way, the fifth 'Malinding' book - Chasing Freedom Home - has reached 40 thousand words - half written.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Words make money - I hope!

I spent another pleasant day at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, near Chester, yesterday. It's a wonderful resource for writers: desks to work at, food to eat (the cakes are tasty) and even beds to sleep in if you want to stay overnight!
As darkness fell I drove home with 2000 new words added to the latest book in the Malinding series. Just 20,000 more to go! This will be the fifth (and possibly the last) book in the story of life in a Gambian village, seen through the eyes of a mixed-race family. Malinding village exists only in my mind, as do the characters who inhabit it, and who travel between there and the North West of England.
The books are for sale on Amazon for Kindle readers. All money from the sales go directly into the GOES Co-op Bank account, and from there to help the humanitarian work of that charity in The Gambia. Much of the work of the charity which has been described in this blog has been funded, at least in part, by these works of fiction. So, imaginary people help real-world men, women and children: fiction becomes fact.
Back to cake - no! I meant back to work!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Senegal - a little progress.

Fingers crossed - the little boy we helped with a contribution towards his medical costs in the hospital at Dakar is making progress. His mother is with him.
We don't have an up-to-date report about the young woman who is in the same hospital (the girl who needed attention after discovering a lump in her breast) but as soon as we have any news we'll let you know.
Best wishes to these young people, and to all our friends, for good health and happiness in 2014.
T & J

P.S. - a big thank you to the person who bought 'Stories for Gambian Children' - the first sale of 2014!