Stourbridge News:

PROJECT Gambia 2017 has come to a close and the students spent a well-deserved morning of R&R in the African Village Hotel, lounging in the pool and soaking up some Gambian Rays, before leaving for the long journey home.

It has been a busy two weeks and a lot has been achieved by the three groups, and planning for next year's project is already underway. But for now, as we journey back, everyone is reflecting on their own experience.

Here are some of the most treasured memories and top tips for those thinking about joining the project next year:

Mrs Hodt- improving the post-natal ward at the Sintet medical centre. (Project Gambia supports the medical centre and soon will be providing baby packs for newborns).

Mrs Billingham - my first visit to Half Dye school and being overwhelmed by the mass of smiling faces waiting to meet us.

Miss Broadhead - seeing the farm at Sintet with the crops growing.

Becky Hodt - my first visit to the special school and meeting the lovely staff and children.

Mrs Jan Tomlinson and Mrs Wendy Quigley - the brilliant assembly and prize giving at Half Dye. We will share this with our children at Quarry Bank Primary, who donated the prizes and drew pictures for the children at Half Dye.

Mrs Bridgewater - the school assembly at Half Dye school, particularly the 'banana' song, sung in French.

Jack Perry (Year 10) - meeting lots of new people. Jack's Top Tip: Don't be scared or shy, just join in.

Emily Bullock (Year 10) - seeing how happy everyone was, even though many are very poor.

Melanie Thomas (Year 10) - our visit to Kotusilo village and holding the children's hands as we walked around. Top Tip: Just enjoy the experience.

Dan Handley (Year 10) - visiting Sintet and witnessing the incredible spirit of the people who live in very difficult circumstances. Top Tip: Talk with the locals; you learn so much when you really engage with people.

India Billingham (Year 10) - everyone is really friendly and the kids are so, so cute.

Luke Harrison (Year 10) - Dancing to the African drumbeat, everywhere we went!

Mr Tivey - the heartfelt welcome in Sintet.

Mr Deeley - realising the huge difference between the wealthy and the poor in Gambia, even though the physical distance between them is so small.

Florence Bernard (Headteacher at Half Dye school) - everyone being together again.

Maisie Beamer (Year 10) - meeting the Gambian children and walking around Kotusilo village: life is so different there.

Abbie Danks (Year10) - the dancing at Sintet, and the rice; the best ever!

Ellie Monty (Year 10) - the evening at Paradise Beach and Mr Hodt's dancing!

Grace Shaw (Year 10) - the presentation of prizes for the children at Half Dye School.

Mary Jabang (Project Gambia) - Seeing the market garden at Sintet. I was lucky to be one of the first to visit Sintet as part of Project Gambia, so I can see how much it has changed.

Molly Jones (Year 10) - Dancing to the African beat!

Izzy Sanders (Year 10) - The evening at Paradise Beach and seeing the beautiful Gambian sunset.

Sophie Jones (Year 10) - Dancing, more dancing, and even more dancing!

So that's it for this year. We hope you have enjoyed reading about what's been happening during the past two weeks.

Check out our website for updates throughout the year, as we prepare for Project Gambia 2018.

Goodbye and best wishes from everyone at Project Gambia.