Report submitted by Ridgewood School

After a long journey and a deep sleep, we all woke up refreshed and ready for what the day had to offer.

First of all, before anything else... breakfast.

We were greeted with a buffet of fruit, cereal and tea with a lovely woman making omelettes.

Once full to the brim with food we met with Karramo who gave us the itinerary for the day: first stop sports day with the Half-Dye children. We gathered onto the trucks and travelled through the sandy streets.

Unfortunately, the weather was overcast as there is a sandstorm from the Sahara dessert, so it was very arid.

During our journey we were greeted with waves, smiles and shouts which made the incessant beeps from the horns of cars bearable.

The scenery around us was unlike anything we have ever seen; along the streets people gathered to sell fruits, clothes, fridges, bikes, tyres, and anything else that can be displayed on the side of a road.

The Gambians also have quite a taste for very loud sofas and bed frames!

As we turned towards Half-Dye the road became very bumpy, to the point where we were bouncing in our seats like a child’s basketball. When we got to the school, we were greeted with smiles and hands to hold. We were dragged off (quite literally) to the sports field to watch the children compete in their sports.

Four of us were volunteered to judge; we sat down and watched the proceedings.

Wave after wave of children gathered around our seating area, all screaming where they were placed.

The end came, and the children spent the last two rounds eating bread and playing musical chairs. The blue team prevailed.

We danced in celebration and watched the children celebrate. Unfortunately, every celebration must come an end.

We gathered back on the truck following many hugs, kisses and goodbyes. The trip back was short and sweet; we had all worked up an appetite and couldn’t wait to go back for a second round.

We have settled into a routine: back on the truck, back down the streets full of people and back down the bumpy road.

We went into the actual school this time and walked into music, dance and food. Children who we had met earlier in the day ran up to us and hugged us, welcoming a friendly face.

We looked around their classrooms, analysing the similarities and differences to home and here.

They had chairs, tables and paintings on the wall, depicting rainbows and dogs. A very typical primary school just in the middle of a sandy village. We were instructed to gather face paints and nail varnish to treat the children.

The leaders of our group lined up all the children and sent them to our stations. Two hundred children later and we have an array of rainbows, snakes, flowers and stars, all with multicoloured nails.

Now these personalities danced and sang for us, dragged us onto the floor to dance with them and celebrate.

It made the experience much more sad when it was time to leave; the departure was once again full of hugs and kisses which were full of love between us and the children.

And there we were again back on the truck, back down the bumpy roads and back through the fascinating streets.

I could bore you with the details of us relaxing in the pool but I don’t want you to feel too much sympathy for us...

Kara Year 13 Stourbridge College, First Project Gambia experience.